Speech and Language and Stuttering

The OTvest Weighted Vest Can Help Reduce Stuttering and Help Improve Language by the Calming, Focusing Deep Pressure Therapy.

The OTvest can be used as a treatment for stuttering, because it helps the wearer relax! “It feels good!” to wear, and when we feel good, we do better!

Speech and language therapists have found the OTvest™ weighted vest helpful in treatment sessions because of the calming, focusing effect that the OTvest™ provides and the stabilization of the body, which makes sessions more productive. A decrease in stuttering has been noted when wearing the OTvest™, as the deep pressure touch therapy can be used to help treat anxiety and stress naturally! Anxiety and stress are often associated with stuttering, so when deep pressure is applied, as it is with the OTvest™, speech becomes far easier for the OTvest™ wearer.

Nancy VandenBerg, MS, OTR, is the creator of the OTvest™ and has over 35 years of direct treatment experience working with infants through young adults with feeding and swallowing disorders. She is Bobath, NDT (directly from Berta and Karle Bobath), sensory motor integration trained, and is experienced with treating a variety of physical disabilities, including the treatment of oral motor dysfunction. She has worked closely with speech and language pathologists and parents in their home, as part of a treatment team – as well as within early intervention classrooms.

The most basic, essential, and effective treatment for children, teens, and adults with neurogenic disorders who have feeding/swallowing problems is the positioning of the head, trunk and the oral area through symmetrical alignment. The weighted OTvest™ aids in this important first step by symmetrically stabilizing the trunk and head with the use of the unique patented weight insert that completely surrounds the shoulder-girdle area of the body. The OTvest™ distributes the quilted in, flat weights uniformly across the front and back of the wearer, promoting scapular stability – vital for trunk stabilization. The deep pressure touch therapy that OTvest™ also provides is monumentally beneficial for calming the wearer. Additionally, the proprioceptive input from the weights increases the wearer's sense of body awareness-- how they are positioning their head and neck --important for speech and oral motor function. 

The OTvest deep pressure therapy provides the components necessary for speech and language function through the promotion of:

  • Trunk, neck and head alignment
  • Trunk stability
  • Respiration by opening up of the chest
  • Kinesthetic awareness (where the body is positioned) through the deep pressure proprioceptive input
  • Calming and focus

A secure trunk provides increased neck and head control, which, in turn, helps promote oral motor control by influencing the stability and movement of the oral structures needed for feeding, drinking and language skills.

This is similar to stabilizing the ankle to address problems in the knee and hip – like building blocks that have to rely on the straight bottom block for the next block to stack without being out of alignment. Each block depends on the secure, symmetrical foundation below.

It is important that a child is positioned with support in a properly fitted chair to help teach self-feeding with hips and feet properly supported. This positioning helps provide the trunk stabilization. Proper trunk stabilization ensures that an individual has the necessary foundation to help develop the finer muscles of the lips, tongue, and throat.  The OTvest™ is particularly helpful, as the weights surround the shoulder-girdle, putting mild pressure on the scapula (shoulder blades) which aids in trunk stabilization.   Weights only hanging inside pockets in a weighted vest, like most on the market, do little to help stabilize the trunk – and often only rest upon the chair when the individual is seated. Neoprene pressure vests, compression vests, and weighted blankets do not provide the shoulder-girdle stability that the OTvest™ provides.

The soothing, calming deep pressure provided by the weights from the OTvest™ help reduce the stress that can be a part of stuttering, speech, and language and eating difficulties, as well as address the tone issues through increasing trunk stability.OTvest-black_girl_in_vest  

Where the weight is placed makes a difference, and that is what sets the OTvest™ apart from other weighted vests on the market. With the OTvest™, the dense, thin steel plates are placed DIRECTLY upon the body's sensory receptors, instead of weights placed in pockets or hems of a garment. This unique placement allows for less weight to be necessary than in other available weighted vests or weighted blankets where the weight is only hanging, supported by only the garment.

The OTvest™ can be used to help naturally treat stuttering in a non-invasive way as it helps calm and relax the wearer.

Feel the difference that the OTvest™ can make for you, today!  

Place an order by clicking here.  


Berry, J., Foster, L. Unraveling the reasons for food refusal in children. OT Practice, May 23, 2016. 21-23.

VandenBerg, N., (2001). The use of weighted vests to increase on-task behavior in children with attention difficulties, American Journal of Occupational Therapy, Vol. 55, 621-628. doi:10.5014/ajot.55.6.621

This research is also in the book, Pediatric Issues in Occupational Therapy: A Compendium of Leading Scholarship (Royeen, 2004) published by AOTA (N. VandenBerg, Chapter 25.)