The Wilbarger Protocol, also known as Brushing Therapy, or The Wilbarger Deep Pressure
Protocol (WDPP) utilizes deep touch pressure and joint proprioception. The Wilbarger protocol aids children in sensory processing and integration for decreased seeking or defensiveness of tactile/touch and proprioceptive/muscle position stimuli.
- Children who seek out stimuli typically have a calming response from the protocol. Which increases their ability to participate in activities, follow directions, and transition between tasks.
- Children who avoid stimuli gradually become more comfortable or tolerant. Which decreases fear and anxiety surrounding being touched while having the same positive effects as the sensory seekers.
For children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, it is common to be tactile defensive. Ask your Occupational Therapist to demonstrate the protocol with you and your child to ensure carryover at home! The good news is parents can find this sensory integration therapy tool online! A simple Google search of “Sensory Brush” will bring up multiple hits for the type of brush utilized in this protocol;
standard surgical brush with soft, malleable bristles.