Wednesday, November 29, 2006

sensory integration -- Jacob's at-home program

Under the direction of our OT, we've set up a Sensory Integration program for Jacob at home. Here's some of the components of that:

We do the Wilbarger DPPT (Deep Pressure and Propriocetive Technique -- formally known as the Wilbarger Brushing Protocol), which consists of "brushing" his arms, back, and legs with a surgical brush, followed by deep joint compressions on shoulders, elbows, wrists, fingers, hips, knees, ankles, toes, and chest. To find out more about this technique, click here for a helpful website. Initially you do the brushing/joint compressions every 90 minutes, then you back off on it. Up until recently, we were doing it three times a day with Jacob -- upon waking, 2 hours later, and at bedtime. We've recently scaled back to just upon waking. Jacob will ask to be brushed if we get distracted and don't get to it right away.

We also using an Airflow Horn Heirarchy set. Blowing on increasingly challenging whistles is good "heavy work" (which I'll talk more about in a minute), as well as working on lip and facial muscle positions needed for proper speech, and helping to expand the chest for proper air flow.

These two programs take about 10 minutes a day to implement. The rest of our program revolves around taking advantage of opportunities to do "heavy work" as they arise.

"Heavy Work" is work that requires the use of whole body muscles -- opening heavy doors (either pushing or pulling), pushing shopping carts or vacuum cleaners, pulling wagons, dragging beanbag chairs, pushing a wheelbarrow, blowing on whistles or bubble pipes, bouncing on a ball, jumping on a mattress, carrying heavy bags, carrying a weighted backpack: these are all examples of "heavy work". "Heavy Work" is very grounding to the sensory systems, so anything that requires challenge to Jacob's sensory system is followed by heavy work of some sort. (Walking like a crab, deep squats, bouncing, etc.)

Just as RDI became part of the way we live every day life, so too did Sensory Integration. I now see each activity as an opportunity to work on certain portions of Jacob's OT program. Piles of stone in the driveway and bales of hay covered in tarps (see photo) became a place to do heavy work (climbing up the pile, pulling Zoo Boy up, jumping off, running up and down the stone piles). Of course, Jacob has no idea this is "work" -- he's just playing and having a great time! That's the best part about a good Sensory Integration program -- the kids are healing their sensory systems while playing!

There is one more aspect to our program that will be implemented in the near future, and that's the listening program that I mentioned in yesterday's post. The CDs and headphones are pricey, but our OT is sold on it as a very beneficial thing (and I very much trust her), and it's easy to implement as the child rides in the car, you just strap on the ear phones and let them listen to a few tracks. I'm saving my pennies to buy the equiptment as a holiday present to myself, so hopefully we'll start using that on a daily basis as well right after the New Year. I'm sure I'll post more on it (and include some links) when we get going with it.


At 8:21 PM, Anonymous Henry'sMom said...

harvest mom, you're great! i can't tell you how helpful your posts have been...particularly since we are just starting our RDI program with our 4yo son. this has been a great month too since i always know that you'll have a new post every day (yeh!) many thanks again - your boys are definitely lucky!

At 12:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good reminder about Wilbarger Brushing. My son has sensory integration issues but gets better every year. Keep up the good work!

At 7:36 AM, Anonymous Jackie said...

Harvest Mom....You are Amazing!!!
I am an RDI consultant in training who stumbled upon your blog. I just starting to work with a family and it is incredibly helpful for me to see/hear the progression of your stages in RDI. Your understanding of RDI and ability to explain it in a warm and user friendly manner is fantastic. I admire your approach to parenting and your dedication to your family. Keep up the good work and thank you for sharing with the rest of us.


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