What is Sensory Integration?


Sensory experiences include touch, movement, body awareness, sight, sound, smell, taste and the pull of gravity. The brain’s process of organising and interpreting this information is called Sensory Integration (SI).

It provides the crucial foundation for later, more complex learning development and behaviour.

For most children, Sensory Integration develops during ordinary childhood activities. Motor planning ability is a natural outcome of this process, as is the ability to adapt to incoming sensations. But, for some children, sensory integration does not develop as efficiently as it should. 


Most people don’t realize that breakdowns in sensory processing can affect:




•successful participation in daily life


Not all children with learning, developmental or behavioural problems have underlying sensory integration difficulties. There are certain indicators, however, that can signal a parent that such difficulties may be present. These include:










SPD is a complex disorder of the brain, which results in our senses struggling to interpret information.

Additionally, it is often coupled with other disorders like Autism spectrum disorder.

It is important to realize that there are more than just the five senses that most of us are familiar with. 

Information is taken in from:







•Internal organs (interoception)

•Proprioceptive receptors

Vestibular receptors are responsible for detecting changes in position in space, balance, and movement.

Proprioceptive receptors provide information about body awareness, position, and posture.

Interoception involves the internal regulation responses in our body such as hunger, thirst, blood pressure, and even toileting urges.

Through our lives there is a an overload of information coming through our senses. We need to integrate this information successfully to analyze it and respond appropriately. There are occassions when our response doe not match the information being received.

A good example is when a student has a panic type response to a situation where another student simply brushes passed him in line. Another example is when a student feels pain wearing certain clothing with tags or labels.

What’s interesting about sensory processing, is that most activities require us to combine information we obtain from different senses at the same time! When you close your eyes to wash your hair, you know exactly where to place your shampoo-filled hands.

Occupational Therapists are trained to help people of all ages perform better at everyday activities or occupations, which they want to or are expected to perform. This means playing, learning and being part of a family and forming friendships. 


According to, Sensory integration therapy is essentially a form of Occupational Therapy and it is generally offered by specially trained occupational therapists. It involves specific sensory activities to help a child appropriately respond to light, sound, touch, smells, and other input. Intervention may include swinging, brushing, playing in a ball pit and a whole gamut of other activities. The outcome of these activities may be better focus, improved behavior, and even lowered anxiety.

There are many sensory tools we can use to better improve sensory processing.

One such tool is a weighted vest.

A weighted vest provides deep touch pressure (DTP) or proprioceptive which has a calming, organizing effect on the child and occupational therapists often recommend the wearables as part of a comprehensive sensory diet to help children with autism who have sensory processing disorder or self-regulation difficulties.

Our PrettySpecial weighted vest offers deep touch pressure in the form of weighted pockets at the front and back surface area for comforting, calming and improving focus. The weighted vest is an excellent choice for children with ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder and Autism. 

For more information or to order simply contact us via our contact to order form or email us to

We deliver directly to you, anywhere in South Africa.


Weighted Blankets for Cancer Anxiety


According to IOL news – Cancer causes more deaths in South Africa than HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and malaria combined, and a special report by Discovery Health Medical Scheme (Discovery), released for the first time in 2018, quantifies the scheme’s spending on cancer-related claims and reinforces the need for greater cancer awareness.

For those that are undergoing treatment and dealing with their own diagnosis right now, there is a lot one can do to deal with the emotional and physical stresses that come with receiving treatment. Here at PrettySpecial weighted blankets & things we wanted to offer a few tips to help with prevention.

Here are 6 tips on how to prevent the onset of cancer

1. Knowledge Is Power

We know that early detection is key to enabling effective treatment and a better chance of recovering from cancer. If you are experiencing symptoms which concern you, it is vital to have them investigated by a health professional as soon as possible. It is also important to know what screening options are available to you, especially if you have a family history of cancer. It is important to detect cancer early by conducting regular self-examinations and going for regular medical check-ups.

2.  Think before you eat & drink

According to CANSA The Cancer Association of South Africa  – Research strongly indicates that making smart choices regarding what is taken in and exercising regularly can have a positive effect, not only on a person’s well-being, but also reduces individual cancer risk

Dietary and physical activity factors have been shown to affect our biological processes and cancers associated with diet are commonly found in the digestive tract (oesophagus, stomach, and bowel).


3. Avoid Tobacco

Tobacco-related diseases kill over 44 000 South Africans and seven million people worldwide annually, of which close to 900 000 are non-smokers dying from breathing second-hand smoke…

Tobacco usage increases the risk of over 18 types of cancer: cancer of the lungs, renal pelvis, oral cavity, oropharynx, hypopharynx, nasopharynx, oesophagus, larynx, nasal cavity and sinus, ureter, bladder, pancreas, kidney, stomach, colorectum, uterine cervix, breast, ovary and myeloid leukaemia.

Here’s the latest fact sheet on conditions causing cancer

4. Know the risks of Anxiety and Stress caused by a cancer diagnosis

Anxiety and distress can affect the quality of life of patients with cancer and their families, and patients with cancer have different levels of distress.

According to the National Cancer Institute,  causes of cancer anxiety include the following:

Being screened for cancer.

Waiting for test results.

Hearing a cancer diagnosis.

Being treated for cancer.

Worrying that cancer will recur (come back).

Anxiety and distress may cause problems such as nausea and vomiting before each treatment, having more pain than usual, and sleeplessness. Patients may decide to delay cancer treatment or miss check-ups when they feel anxiety and distress.

The following are risk factors for high levels of distress in patients with cancer:

Trouble doing the usual activities of daily living.

Physical problems and side effects of treatment (such as fatigue, nausea, or pain).

Problems at home.

Unmet social and spiritual needs.

Depression, cancer-related post-traumatic stress, or other emotional problems.

Patients who have a high level of distress when they are diagnosed with cancer are more likely to have continued high levels of distress after their diagnosis.

5. Fight Cancer Fatigue with a PrettySpecial Weighted Blanket.

If you or someone you know feels anxious about a cancer diagnosis, a weighted blanket  or wrap can help you feel secure and bring rest in a noninvasive, drug-free manner, using DTP. Deep Touch Pressure not only aids a feeling of well being and sleep, but also has a remarkable influence on your mental health.

According to a study published in the journal Occupational Therapy in Mental Health, weighted blankets help reduce the physiological signs of stress, including lowering blood pressure and improving pulse rate. In the study, 63 percent of participants reported lower anxiety levels and 78 percent preferred the weighted blanket as a calming modality. 

If you are experiencing tension throughout your body and emotional stress, the Deep Pressure Touch given by a PrettySpecial weighted wrap relaxes the mind and body. Pressure from the weight soothes aches and comforts those who need it most. Trouble sleeping due to worry can be reduced since the pressure acts as a stimulant for serotonin production. Serotonin becomes melatonin naturally, which is the body’s hormone to aid sleep.

The portability of a PrettySpecial weighted wrap allows you to take it with you to appointments to make the waiting tolerable and lift your spirits.

For more information or to order simply contact us via our contact to order form or email us to 

We deliver straight to your doorstep, anywhere in South Africa.

Can weighted blankets help with Down Syndrome?

Down Syndrome


To answer this question, lets first talk more about Down Syndrome itself and its behavioural symptoms.

According to the National Down Syndrome Society, at least half of all children and adults with Down syndrome face a major mental health concern during their life span. Children and adults with multiple medical problems experience an even higher rate of mental health problems.

The most common mental health concerns include:

General anxiety, repetitive and obsessive-compulsive behaviors; oppositional, impulsive, and inattentive behaviors; sleep related difficulties; depression; autism spectrum conditions; and neuropsychological problems characterized by progressive loss of cognitive skills.

The pattern of mental health problems in Down syndrome vary depending on the age and developmental characteristics of the child or adult.


Common Treatment therapies:

A variety of therapies can be used in early intervention programs and throughout a person’s life to promote the greatest possible development, independence, and productivity, as noted by the US Department of Health and Human Services.


Physical therapy includes activities and exercises that help build motor skills, increase muscle strength, and improve posture and balance.

A physical therapist can help a child with Down syndrome compensate for physical challenges, such as low muscle tone, in ways that avoid long-term problems. For example, a physical therapist might help a child establish an efficient walking pattern, rather than one that might lead to foot pain.


Speech-language therapy can help children with Down syndrome improve their communication skills and use language more effectively.

Children with Down syndrome often learn to speak later than their peers. A speech-language therapist can help them develop the early skills necessary for communication, such as imitating sounds. The therapist also may help an infant breastfeed because breastfeeding can strengthen muscles that are used for speech.


Occupational therapy helps find ways to adjust everyday tasks and conditions to match a person’s needs and abilities.This type of therapy teaches self-care skills such as eating, getting dressed, writing, and using a computer. An occupational therapist might offer special tools that can help improve everyday functioning, such as a pencil that is easier to grip.


Emotional and behavioral therapies work to find useful responses to both desirable and undesirable behaviors. Children with Down syndrome may become frustrated because of difficulty communicating, may develop compulsive behaviors, and may have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and other mental health issues.


How can a weighted blanket help a child with Down Syndrome?

More and more often, interventions for children with Down syndrome involve assistive devices—any type of material, equipment, tool, or technology that enhances learning or makes tasks easier to complete. Examples include amplification devices for hearing problems, bands that help with movement, special pencils to make writing easier, touchscreen computers, and computers with large-letter keyboards.

We believe that a weighted blanket can be a very important assistive device as well as a sensory tool.

Weighted blankets have a long history of use in a type of occupational therapy called Sensory Integration therapy. This treatment is used to help people with autism and other disorders to focus on sensory experiences which experts say may boost these individuals’ ability to regulate their emotions and behaviour. Weighted blankets are one tool therapists use to provide “deep-touch pressure.”

Deep-Touch pressure helps to calm that arousal level in the system and to help with self-regulation.


It also has been proven to assist with general anxiety, repetitive and obsessive-compulsive behaviors; oppositional and aggressive  behaviors; sleep related difficulties; depression and autism spectrum conditions.

Utilizing deep pressure touch stimulation, PrettySpecial weighted blankets provide comfort when the challenges of daily life cause anxiety and stress. Learning to communicate with others and be independent can take a toll on those with additional issues like Down syndrome.

Parents of Down Syndrome children have often reported that consistent pressure, like warm embraces from a loved one, has assisted in lowering their aggression and anxiety levels. Both hugs and heavy blankets trigger the release of oxytocin, a hormone that slows down your heart rate, reduces blood pressure and promotes feelings of relaxation.

Taking a break with a our weighted products relaxes the mind and body when it’s most needed. Deep Pressure applied to the body has been shown to increase serotonin levels, lowering pain and stress while lifting the user’s mood.

Giving yourself or a loved one a custom-made PrettySpecial blanket is a worthwhile improvement to their quality of life.

For more information or to order simply contact us via our contact to order form or email us to 

We deliver straight to your doorstep, anywhere in South Africa.