View Full Version : Anyone do brushing and joint compression?

01-26-2012, 02:37 PM
I am kind of a stranger on these boards. We have done FIAR for years and life is crazy, so I don't get on here very often. I'm more of a lurker!
My oldest ds has Downs and is in the public school currently. His OT has recommended these therapies, and I have never even heard of them before. I trust the ladies here and value your opinions, knowing you are dedicated to your children and their educations.
Can you share with me your experiences? Thanks.

01-26-2012, 06:14 PM

We have never tried brushing, but we have done joint compressions with much success. Joint compressions will calm my son when he is especially stimmy or overwhelmed.

As an example, when he was about 2, he would become overwhelmed during church due to the people, lights, music, etc. I could hold him and do the compressions and he would be able to calm down.

I don't know much about brushing, but I think it is used to balance over sensitivity.

I wouldn't hesitate to try both. :)

Robin in Colorado
01-26-2012, 09:13 PM
We do both, with two of my children. Do you have specific questions?

Natalie (SD)
01-26-2012, 09:55 PM
I tried brushing, and it overstim'ed my girl. Wired her beyond belief. She was 2.5 at the time, and she gave up her nap when we started brushing, and couldn't sleep at night, she was so "awakened". Yikes.

The joint compression is golden though, we still do it . . .


01-27-2012, 11:12 AM
my son (also with down syndrome) had brushing and joint compression recommended by his OT when he was about 18 months old. I tried it for about 3 months, but at the time it didn't seem to help much.
I should try it again. Deep pressure (rubbing his back and extremeties firmly) really calms him down, so I think the joint compression would be effective.

Robin in Colorado
01-27-2012, 11:28 AM
We used both with Belle when she was four and five. We just started with Princess.

Both are for kids who have trouble regulating something.

Joint compression works on the proprioceptive input. It is huge in calming and in helping kids who need better deep tissue-to-brain communication.

Brushing provides some stimulating input but the purpose is to help the pain communicators regulate.

For example, when we were using it with Belle, her pain sensors/responders were messed up. Wearing blue jeans or receiving a paper cut were excruciating to her and resulted in hysterical screaming; getting a broken bone wasn't even noticed.

The combination of brushing and compression corrected that to a huge degree.

Now, with Kitty, someone touching her is painful, as are many textures of clothing. Anything to do with the skin creates huge shouts of pain from her skin to her brain. Yet, again, a broken bone is barely noticed. And though someone touching her is painful, she seeks deep touches, like bear hugs, in order to give her energy.

We are looking for this combination to balance her.

Alice R
01-27-2012, 02:03 PM
My husband is an OT and he does it with his students/clients.

It can be super effective for some kids and so-so for others. It depends on their underlying issues that you are trying to address.

I think it is the "wilbarger" method that you would goggle up to learn more.

I also know not to mess with it or attempt to try it out without some advice first. If it is done incorrectly, it will make the child upset and overstimed and craaaaazy! Totally not what you want.

Angela Paige
01-30-2012, 10:54 AM
I used to do brushing and joint compressions with my oldest (who is an Aspie). He really enjoyed it and often would ask me to do it for him. We stopped several years ago, though, when we went through a rough patch in life.

Alice ... Could you ask your dh if it is effective for a person to brush or do joint compressions to themselves? Joel is 11 and beginning to go through puberty. I am not sure he would want me to do this for him anymore, especially since he doesn't like to be touched much to begin with. :unsure:


01-31-2012, 09:41 AM
Thanks for your candid responses.

DS has issues with chewing on his thumb, pulling his hair, clicking his teeth, and rubbing his pants in the zipper area. His therapist recommended the therapies w/o really telling me how they might help and what we might expect. Some of his behaviors are very unacceptable for a man and we are trying to help him be more socially acceptable, as he is nearing the age where we are thinking about jobs and a work environment. We meet with the Developmental Pediatrician in a few weeks and I just want to have some "real life" examples to refer to.

Thanks for sharing your experiences with me!! It gives me hope!!