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Run the soft, dense bristles over the skin with moderate pressure for a calming sensory experience.
The Wilbarger Protocol (also referred to as brushing therapy) is often a sensory 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 susceptible to touch. They often fear or resist being touched, have difficulty transitioning between activities, and maybe sluggish—this therapy developed by Patricia Wilbarger, MEd, OTR, FAOTA.
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 substantial pressure; it is like a deep pressure massage. Brushing starts at the arms and works down to the feet. The face, chest, and stomach area that you never brush because these are susceptible areas. Touching these areas may cause adverse reactions, including vomiting.
The brush alone isn’t enough to help your child. See your OT and learn how to use this method effectively.
We started using this brush on our daughter when she was first diagnosed with autism. She was highly sensitive to textures and would become highly anxious at bath time because removing clothes and getting into a bath was excruciating for her. She would fight, scream, and kick to avoid this agony. The brushing did aid in removing some of the sensitivities. She craved the feeling this brush gave her. I noticed how she would calm right down as I brushed her skin.
Our youngest is also highly sensitive to touch. He is incredibly ticklish and hates to be touched. The moment I first brushed him, I saw a massive change in his whole day.
They both still love the relaxing feeling this brushing does to them. I brushed our youngest a few days ago, and he fell asleep as I did it!
Therapressure Sensory Brush Features:
These sensory brushes measure 3.5 x 3.2 x 2.2 inches. The portable size makes it ideal for taking it with you wherever you go. The therapy brush comes with an attached ergonomic designed handle that will fit comfortably in your hand for ease of use.