A local woman is sewing weighted blankets and lap pads, helping students with learning disabilities stay focused in the classroom.
“When I found out that there were these physical objects that could help them with out any negative repercussion, I knew that I had to give that a try,” said Jocelyn Dimaya, owner of Jocelyn Shares.
Dimaya, 22, started sewing in high school, finding her passion for fashion, but it was at a charity fashion show with the Kern Autism Network last year she discovered a different use for her sewing machine.
“When I started doing the research and when I started getting kids into the studio and talking with them and their parents about the struggles of school, having difficulties feeling comfortable or sitting still or focusing, I knew that I wanted to help make that so they could be put in the classroom,” Dimaya said.
The custom lap pads and blankets are filled with non-toxic, machine washable poly pellets and range in weight from 2 to over 20 pounds.
The lap pads are helping students, like 7-year-old Jacob Gomez, focus in the classroom.
“It helps me be calm in school,” Jacob said.
Jacob was diagnosed with autism just before he turned four.
“With the lap pad on his lap, it’s constant pressure and since he does have the sensory disorder he needs that,” Jacob’s mom Heather Litterell said.
Jacob designed his first lap pad with Dimaya last year.
“Jacob told me that he loved the color orange and he told me that he loved foxes, so I went out and I found fox fabric,” Dimaya said. “We also included little loops on the lap pad as well so that he would have something to fidget with.”
Jacob’s mother, Heather Litterell, said she noticed a difference in his ability to focus right away.
“This lap pad is actually as important of a tool as a pencil is to him at school,” Litterell said. “The very first day he took it to school i got a call from his teacher saying it was amazing. he was able to stay in his seat, he stayed on task, it’s great.”
When the new school year started this year, Litterall ordered a new lap pad for Jacob to start the year off right.
For more information or to order a weighted blanket or lap pad click here.