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Benefits of Dry Brushing for Autism

Autism is another form of disability affecting each child in different ways. But, the majority of them suffer from the consequences of sensory integration disorder. This condition is actually the outcome of their brain’s inability to gather information from five sensory systems in their body. As a result they throw tantrums. 

If you see that your kid is feeling overwhelmed from excessive sensory stimulation, it is important to relax her nervous system. For that body brushing or dry brushing has proven quite effective. This technique will give your child sensation of movements that will calm her down making her feel comfortable. However, you can learn the technique also known as the Wilbarger Brushing Protocol, from an occupational therapist.

To perform dry brushing techniques you will require a soft, surgical brush having soft bristles, so that your kid’s skin is not scratched during the procedure. Although, there are many plastic brushes in the market, it is better to go for organic products.

Since it is the question of your kid’s health compromising on the quality of the brush should be the last thing on your mind. With a little bit of research you can find all natural brushes featuring boar bristles. Some of them even have extra-long curved bristles to make body brushing easy and fast.

The complete dry brushing process generally takes 2 to 3 minutes. In order to perform dry brushing the brush needs to be run over the kid’ skin using firm pressure. Brushing begins at the arms and eventually moves down to the feet, leaving areas like chest, stomach and face as they are sensitive parts of the body. Note that brushing in these areas is likely to cause reactions like vomiting.

Although, there isn’t much documented research on dry brushing or Wilbarger protocol for autism, parents of autistic kids have reported decrease in anxiety as well as sensory defensiveness because of using the technique. Other benefits include enhanced ability to transition between regular activities, improved coordination, better self-regulation and decrease in discomfort or fear of being touched.

The dry brushing therapy is recommended every two hours when the child is awake. To get started with the technique you should at first speak to your kid’s therapist. Not only that they are expected to re-assess brushing level after two weeks of performing body brushing.  If they feel they can even modify the program for your little one. And this program could be a part of the sensory integration therapy.

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