Thursday, January 14, 2010

In Which We Brush Connor

We have a new routine to add to our at-home therapy now.

We are brushing our son.

Sounds weird, doesn't it? I'm not referring to the kid's hair. Brushing is this technique advocated by many occupational therapists to decrease sensory integration issues. The technical name for the method is the Wilbarger Deep Pressure and Proprioceptive Technique, but everyone just calls it brushing for obvious reasons. Who want to say that mouthful every time they mention it? Basically one takes a special kind of brush with soft bristles and then runs it slowly over the back, arms, legs, hands, and feet of the child using firm pressure. Then joint compressions are administered to the fingers, wrists, elbows, shoulders, ankles, knees, hips, head, and sternum. We're to do this every two hours while Connor is awake. It's supposed to help with his extreme tactile sensitivity, hopefully allowing him to tolerate more stimulation. If you'd like to see someone using this technique, here's a video.

So we started on our brushing regime this afternoon. They've been doing it at school for a while so Connor was pretty comfortable with it. The cats, however, didn't care for it. Cricket seemed to be of the opinion that I shouldn't be brushing Connor; I should be brushing her. She kept coming over and flopping down on my feet to make sure that I didn't leave her out or anything. Connor thought this was hilarious. I ended up taking turns with them: I'd brush Connor's right leg, then brush Cricket for a second. Left leg, Cricket. No doubt Cricket needed some sensory work done too.

Crazy cat.

At any rate, we'll see if this helps Connor become less defensive about his hands and feet. Hopefully he'll be able to tolerate more textures as time goes by. While there aren't a whole lot of studies out there about the effectiveness of brushing, many parents and therapists swear by it. It's certainly not going to hurt anything, so we'll give it a try and see whether or not he gets something out of it! Anybody else tried this with their kids?

Still. Brushing my son. Weird.



Zanda said...

We used it in private practice and it worked well. I used to brush Bjorn as I'm sure he's got some tactile issues!! ;o)( I skipped the joint compression though...)

Deb said...

Yes, I brushed my son and I am one of those people who swear by it. At first my son didn't like but soon he started requesting it.

The Henrys said...

The brushing didn't work for us, but my daughter loves deep pressure. I give her "hugs" all over her body just by squeezing all over. She craves deep pressure and spends much of her time sensory seeking.

Niksmom said...

We used to brush Nik a lot and do the joint compressions. As he grew and gained mobility and strength the need diminished as he got the tactile & proprioceptive needs met in other ways (water/swimming= AWESOME for that!). Sometimes, though, when I'm brushing his hair, he'll take the brush and start to brush himself as if he's asking me to do it.

It really has helped tremendously w/his hypersensitivity to things on his hands.

Julia O'C said...

I'll have to ask Emmett's therapist about that one. Like The Henrys, we've been doing deep pressure (with lots of big hugs and squeezes) and had a lot of success with it. Good luck with the brushing!

I love hearing about how your cats try to "help" you.

Wherever HE Leads We'll Go said...

I have talked to two moms who have done brushing and both had very good results with their kids. I hope that you have good results with Connor. Brushing every two hours is a LOT so hopefully it pays off! So glad the cat is helping to distract Connor. ; )

Loved the previous post about Connor signing at PT and at the photographer. The kid has spunk! He cracks me up!

ParkerMama said...

We do a lot of deep pressure here too. But that brushing might be a good addition.


Tammy and Parker
@ParkerMama on Twitter

Katy said...

Charlie doesn't have any extreme sensativities, but when we find one, we try to just expose him to it over and over again until he's de-sensatized. The brushing thing sounds like it's similar.

You should have seen Charlie today when I introduced him to a pine cone.

ferfischer said...

We do brushing three times a day here and it has helped her tolerate so much more! Sounds weird but she loves it!

Amanda said...

Found your blog last month and LOVE it! As a Special Ed teacher for 17 yrs I've heard families and therapists who swear by Brushing, and others who don't. I've used joint compressions for many kids and find them VERY helpful in addition to deep pressure. Have you heard of BART? (Bonding and Relaxation Techniques- basically strokes/massage to help children. Just finished training on it and am using with my own children as well as parts of it with my students.
FYI- Love Zumba, loved hearing how much Connor is signing! Finally: Moving to your part of the Country in July (we're military) any recommendations on school districts who support Special Ed and want an Early Childhood teacher?

Connor's Mom said...

Glad to know most everyone is a fan of brushing! We'll just have to keep at it and see if it helps the little guy out!

Ashley, I'd be happy to tell you my impressions of the school districts in the local area, though keep in mind they're from a parent's perspective and not from that of an employee. Drop me a line on my e-mail and I'll reply with my opinion!


mommytoalot said...

We did this with Joey. It helped quite a bit.
We also have a deep pressure vest ..he uses it at school

Stefan said...

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