THE BRUSHING PROTOCOL
Brushing is used to reduce sensory defensiveness and improve overall regulatory function. It helps your child take in sensory information in a more organized way so that he/she can function better throughout the day.
- Only use a brush that has been approved by your OT.
- Never brush the stomach, head or neck
- Bush arms, hands, legs, feet and back. Bare skin is best, over the clothes is ok. If brushing over clothing, stabilize the fabric to reduce scratchiness.
- Brush firmly (the most common error is a tendency to brush too lightly) for up to 10 seconds keeping the brush moving in long up and down strokes.
- Always follow the brushing with joint compressions (10 joint compressions to ankles, knees, hips, wrists, elbows, shoulders)
- Count out loud to add verbal cue and rhythm and association
- Compressions: stabilize above the joint and push into the joint with lower hand
- Brush every 1.5-2 hours that the child is awake (up to 5 times daily) for optimal effectiveness. Less will still benefit your child. During diapering is an excellent time. This is a routine rather than an activity. Be businesslike about it rather than playing and exploring. You can massage for fun at other times.
- Replace the brush if it becomes scratchy (approximately every 3 months)
- Hold the brush horizontally when brushing on skin, vertically when brushing over clothing.
- Try to have strokes be long and rhythmic, moderately paced and continuous without picking up the brush between strokes.
- Only cover the area with one up and down stroke, then move on.