Brushing…And I don’t Mean Your Teeth

‘J’ will not be receiving Speech or Occupational Therapy (OT) over the summer. Both will start back up again in September.

We did have speech last summer and he just started OT in February. Therefore, I’m a little skiddish about not having either for a couple of months, while at the same time welcoming the break. In the meantime, we’re finally in a good groove with OT after a rough and late winter of snow storms in the midst of school breaks and I want to make sure we maximize the resource while we have it.

The Wilbarger Protocol

One of the newest activities of our days has been incorporating “The Wilbarger Protocol” or in simpler terms “Brushing Therapy.” The following was taken from

The Wilbarger Protocol (also referred to as brushing therapy) is often a part of a sensorysensory+clear integration or sensory therapy program. It involves brushing the body with a small surgical brush throughout the day. People who exhibit symptoms of tactile defensiveness are extremely sensitive to touch.

The complete protocol usually takes 2-3 minutes to administer. The first step involves using a soft, plastic, sensory brush or Therapressure Brush which is run over the child’s skin, using very firm pressure; it is like a deep pressure massage. 

After Brushing, we also do joint compressions in his arms and legs. Since it is similar to a deep pressure massage, serotonin and dopamine are released throughout the body resulting in a calming effect. For the first two weeks (we’re on Day 4) it is done on a schedule of every 2 hours unless the child is sleeping. In ‘J’s’ case, we’re also not doing it while he is in school. After the two weeks, we can reassess how much it has helped, if at all, and create a less vigorous schedule. So far he likes it. There is not a ton of research behind this technique but it has helped many.

Worst case scenario-it definitely can’t hurt. Stay tuned for updates!


*Image taken from Google Images






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