Monday Morning Musings (5-27)

DSM-5 Goes Live

The DSM-5 was released last week. It’s still impossible to find the full criteria online anywhere, but here’s a summary of the major changes, according to a short video on the APA website.

1. Merges Asperger’s syndrome, PDD-NOS, childhood disintegrative disorder and autism into a single diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder

2. Diagnosis is now based on two criteria instead of three:

  • Social communication (collapsing the formerly separate social and communication domains)

  • Restricted, repetitive behaviors

An interesting shift is that while social communication impairments are seen as lifelong and pervasive, RRBs are not. An adult can now receive an ASD diagnosis based on current social communication impairments and a history of RRBs.

3. The addition of specifiers like age at onset, type of onset (skill loss or not), intellectual disability, verbal impairment, and co-morbid conditions present (i.e. ADHD, anxiety disorders, epilepsy). There will also be a 3-level severity scale assigned to each of the two diagnostic criteria.

If you’re interested in how the DSM-5 guidelines might be implemented in practice I found a set of guidelines developed for pediatricians at the University of Washington hospital. Keep in mind that those are preliminary (not necessarily reflecting the final release of DSM-5 and developed by one hospital.)

Weighted Blankets: Not Just for Kids

Last month my daughter surprised me with a weighted blanket for my birthday. Look how adorable it is:


It’s big enough to cover me from toes to mid-torso when I’m lying flat (or cover me entirely if I curl up on my side), which is plenty. I’ve been using it in the evenings while I’m watching TV, when I need a sensory break during the day or after a tiring outing.

It’s emotionally calming and it makes me feel more physically organized. An unexpected benefit is that my moods are less spiky since I’ve been using it daily.

From the “Change is Hard” File

My old apartment was on the 3rd floor and my new apartment is on the 2nd floor. The first few times I used the elevator here I automatically hit the 3 button, got out on the 3rd floor and was halfway to my apartment before I realized that the numbers were all wrong.

Now when I use the elevator (which isn’t often, because 2nd floor), I tell myself “2 not 3”. The funny thing is, apparently I’ve been saying it out loud. The things you don’t realize until another person is around to look at you funny. Oops.

Hearing Motion

In the comments on one of the surveys, Robin shared a cool video that can help you identify if you experience a certain kind of synesthesia in which visual motion generates sound. I didn’t hear anything when I watched it but some other folks did.


Last week the blog topped 100,000 views and 3000 comments. Yay!

14 thoughts on “Monday Morning Musings (5-27)”

  1. Love the weighted blanket! Do you know what it is inside that gives it the weight? 🙂 My son could use one and I bet I could make it!

    1. I love my blanket too. 🙂 The weight comes from poly (plastic) pellets. You can buy them at a craft store. There are lots of online tutorials for making a weighted blanket. Here’s one on youtube that will give you a general idea: (they use a pillow case, but you could easily get fabric and sew it from scratch if you need a larger size). I’d love to know how it turns out if you make one.

      1. Would love to know the name of the company where your daughter got your weighted blanket. I want to treat myself to one. Your comments have reminded me of how beneficial this could be for me. Thank You!

  2. My hubby bought me a weighted blanket too this spring!!!!!! I love it. I feel completely pinned down and it is great. I had to wash it a bunch of times so it wouldn’t make my skin feel like it was going to crawl.

    Speaking of weighted things, I also have a weighted vest in my basement that I use for work some times. I actually had purchased a weighted work our vest a couple years ago and adopted it on stress filled days. It works I think, because it taxes my body – under the moving heavy things category. I get that same tired feeling just like I finished exercising or working in the yard.

    I also tried something weird this last trip to the dentist. I asked them to keep the lead blanket on me after the X-rays. I HATE the dentist and end up in a ball crazy once the trip is done. The lead took a little of the “edge” off, but not nearly the same as my blanket at home. Going to either wear the vest next trip or make a smaller portable blanket.

    Valerie – On directions, they seem pretty easy. Think about slowly sewing a grid and fill with pillow stuffing fluff and then the poly fill beads. If you sew it yourself, double sew the edges down so the weight doesnt pull the outside seams open. I am a sewer and quilter so happy to help out if you need anything.
    More directions here:

    Click to access Weighted-Blanket-or-Lap-Pad-Instructions.pdf

    1. Thank you for adding another set of do-it-yourself directions!

      I sometimes use a chenille blanket under the weighted blanket because the fabric is a little rough. I haven’t tried washing it yet. Do you have any tips for making sure it goes safely through the washer? Is it okay to put it in the dryer or no?

      There are so many times I’ve been tempted to ask the dentist to leave the lead blanket on me, even before I knew about AS or weighted blankets. I think that’s how I knew I’d like having a weighted blanket in the first place. 🙂

      1. I have a front loading washer, so there is very little stress put on the blankets or quilts. If you don’t have one, i’d take it to the laundry mat just for that purpose. Mine is just under a twin size. So it is big. I put mine in the dryer on low/medium. Everything dried just fine, no different than throwing a bunch of stuffed animal toys in the dryer.

        Weights should be specific to your weight. Your OT can help recommend the weight, but in general it should be no more than 10% of the body’s weight.

        The Lead blanket at the dentist was truly a revelation. My heart rate came down almost immediately. Remarkable!

        1. I do have a front loading washer so I’ll give it a try.

          I think my blanket is 12 pounds which is about 10% of my body weight. It feels just right, not too heavy and not too light.

  3. Sadly I don’t have a weighted blanked, but my winter coat is pretty much the same thing and I understood that I was able to get out of my way and do unplanified things much easily when I’m wearing it! Gotta love those heavy fabrics when used in a oversized coat <3!

    1. Heavy fabrics can be so comforting. When I was a kid my mom had a fur coat (it was the 70s, what can I say?) and it was wonderfully heavy and I liked to curl up under it, especially in the car or at the homes of relatives.

      1. You just reminded me when I was a child (5-7) my father had a long heavy corduroy coat lined with sheepskin and I used to love putting it on before he went to work and i’d hug it around me, the weight was so soothing (most of it was on the floor!). I now have an old-style heavy man’s woolen dressing gown that I put on over the top of my pjs or clothes and I find that very calming, too.
        That’s one of the things I love about your blog and people’s comments – so many triggers to past memories. It’s helping me understand my past through clear eyes, thank you.

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