December 13th, 2010 by

Brushing Technique

Today at OT, we talked about listening therapy again, something that we’ve planned to start for the last 2 months but one thing or another prevented it. Seamus has tried the headphones and cd player a few times at OT, but he doesn’t like them and always takes them off, complaining they hurt his head, or it’s too loud, or he doesn’t like the music (part of his sensory issues). We think the listening therapy will help Seamus progress and relax, but his OT brought up a different therapy/technique to try first.

Our OT brought up the Brushing Technique and asked if I had heard of it, which I hadn’t. She explained it to me – basically, it should help calm him down and give him the sensory input that he needs. She wants us to try this before we go on to the listening therapy; right now she doesn’t think he would do the LT because of how he acts with the music and headphones.

She gave me a run down of what to do. I thought Seamus would freak out when she was first explaining it to me. You use a surgical brush to brush down their extremities and back, and I thought it would be a pokey and hard brush. The brush is actually fairly soft and doesn’t hurt. (She showed me on me, then on Seamus, how to do it). I have to brush down his arms first, applying pressure to give him the deep sensory input he needs, then his back, and last his legs. After I’m done brushing, I have to do his joint compression, which is pushing all his joints in his extremities together 10x’s each joint (shoulder, elbow, wrist, hips, knees and feet).

I was amazed when she showed Seamus and I. When she was doing it on me to show me how to do it, Seamus ignored us, playing with ‘his’ Little People. When she told him she was going to do it on him to show me some more, he wasn’t too sure about it; he kind of froze up at first. He had one hand raised prepared to push her away. After a couple seconds of her brushing his arm, you could see him relax more. He still held pretty stiff, but he wasn’t ready to push her off. To my amazement, it did help calm him down for around an hour. The thing with this therapy/technique is that it doesn’t last all day. It has to be done every 2-4hrs – the closer to every 2hrs, the better. (But he’s in school from 8am-11:45am, 4 days a week, so it won’t happen at those times.)

I’m excited to see how this goes and hope it helps him so we can move on to the listening therapy too.

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