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The Wilbarger Brushing Protocol: Who Can Do It?

Posts 1 | Created 6/28/2010 9:32 AM by La Luna |  

Are you confused about the Wilbarger Brushing Protocol and who can do it... OT's, parents, other care givers? Whose allowed? What the protocol says? One OT asked on our help line to clarify this. Well, here's the answer!

In the book: "Sensory Defensiveness in Children Aged 2-12, An Intervention Guide for Parents and Other Caretakers" By Patricia Wilbarger, MEd, OTR, FAOTA and Julia Leigh Wilbarger, MS, OTR, published by Avanti Educational Programs, copyright 1991,

On page 2, they state...

Purpose of the Guide:

This guide presents a description of sensory defensiveness and an overview of its treatment. This booklet is designed to be used with the guidance of an occupational or physical therapist who has gained specialization in treating sensory defensiveness in children aged 2-12, through continuing education and clinical practice."

For Parents: excerpt..."It is hoped that this guide will provide basic information parents need to understand the diagnosis and treatment of sensory defensiveness in their child between the ages of 2-12. It will answer some of the questions most frequently asked about sensory defensiveness and give some examples of treatment strategies."

For Other Family Members: excerpt... "Understanding the nature of sensory defensiveness will help families develop appropriate relationships and free family members to assist in child's treatment."

For Other Caretakers: excerpt..." Foster families, baby-sitters, teachers, and others who have contact with the child with sensory defensiveness need to have a clear understanding of the nature of this problem. .... The intervention techniques recommended here are much more effective if everyone is able to help."

For Professionals: Occupational Therapists, physical therapists, speech therapists and other health professionals who have specialized in treating sensory defensiveness need to communicate effectively and quickly with the caretakers of the children they diagnose. This guide is structured as a way to share consistent information (on pressure brushing and joint compressions) while attending to the individual differences that are so important in each case.

Page 7... Intervention Approaches (con't)

....excerpt... "We have found that sensory defensiveness can be much more quickly and efficiently treated by using an intensive approach. This intensive approach relies heavily on the caretaker's participation in the treatment process. It appears also that by treating the touch system we can influence other sensory systems as well. Our treatment approach now includes applying rapid and firm pressure touch to the arms, hands, back, legs and feet with a non scratching brush with many bristles. The only brushes we have found to be effective so far are a specific plastic surgical scrub brush. This is followed by gentle joint compressions to the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, ankles and sometimes fingers and feet. This should be demonstrated for you by a knowledgeable therapist. Never brush the stomach. The head, neck and chest should also be avoided.

The brushing and joint compression routines are best started on a weekend to get the most consistency. It is a good idea to merge the technique with family routine, i.e. when the child wakes up, goes to bed, bath times, and especially transition times. If the child goes to school and it is impossible for school staff to carry out the program, do the technique right before and after school. Older children can be taught to do it to themselves."

Page 11... Individual Treatment Plan Form

1. Brush firmly with a non-scratching pressure brush on the arms, legs and back as demonstrated by your consulting therapist. Use joint compressions 5-10 times on major joints as demonstrated by your consulting therapist (neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and sometimes fingers and feet) Repeat ___ times per day or every ___ hours.

(description of and instructions for brushing and joint compressions included on this page in the guide)

Posted 6/28/2010 9:32 AM |  
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