Archives for posts with tag: Sensory stimulation

When someone asks me what I remember most about our early times with Elizabeth, the time before we knew what disorders she had.  My mind’s eye takes me to the memories of her crying.  

Simply crying, most, if not all of each and every day.

Crying on and on.

So flash forward to the time after we received the diagnosis of her disorders Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).  Sidebar was called Sensory Defensiveness at the time. And Global Dyspraxia.  They are co-morbid disorders.  Meaning if you have one you will most likely show signs of the other.  

So we had the diagnosis.  Then we met with our Occupational Therapist who talked to us about this small little brush, how to use it and a little thing called a sensory diet.  Truth be told we weren’t ready yet.  So that little brush did not enter our world until we met Mary.

Mary, our beloved therapist Mary, who is still on our “team” gave us the brush, a plan for how to use it and a hug.   She told us the brush was the Wilbarger brush and the way to use it called the Wilbarger Protocol. She told us this was the beginning of the sensory diet that Elizabeth was going to need to help her body be “organized” and that organization would help her start to make gains in many areas. It was a special brush, I was told.  Not any old one will do. The same brush is available on our website, under Wilbarger brush.  

I remember looking at this brush, turning to look at my Elizabeth and thinking, “I cannot believe that this small object will really be able to do all the Mary says.”

Wilbarger Therapressure Massage Brush Balta Brush specialneedsessentials

The Wilbarger Brush

I can remember being told how to use it, when to use it, what to watch for, what to hope for and what to hope does not happen.  I was told so much and I wrote it all down.  I took that little brush home, along with a near ream of papers about it.

And we began the protocol and I began to write down when we used it.  We used it every two hours as I was told to, every day, for over 2 years. That was our time frame, everyone’s will be different.

We brushed arms first, then down to the legs.  NEVER the stomach or chest.

Elizabeth did not like it at first, but after a bit, she would bring me the brush if she needed it or if I was a bit late using it.

We saw changes…small at first.  Like “Hey, she’s not crying,” to big ones like, “Hey, she is trying to color.”   Please remember, EVERYTHING was offensive to Elizabeth.  She had severe SPD.  So touching a crayon was quite a momentous thing.

We kept in close communication with Mary because this is an important thing to do when you are doing this program.  It is not something one can just start.  According to the website   “Training is an absolute necessity before attempting to use this technique in practice.  Use requires a trained therapist otherwise harmful or ineffective influences may be the result.”  

So the positive growth kept coming and we saw smiles not tears and we saw her being so much calmer during the day. According to the same website, the positive growth can include “An increase in ability to transition to new things, increase in attention span, decrease fear and discomfort being touched and an increased ability of the central nervous system to use information that is coming in.”  

What all that means is the sensory information that was so offensive to Elizabeth’s system will now be so much less. Hugging does not feel like it hurts, transitioning from one activity to the next without a meltdown, and she can focus longer to learn instead of always being on hyper-alert.

We saw the growth and successes in all these areas, and that little brush became quite a valuable commodity to us.  I remember buying an extra one from Mary because it is important that the bristles are not bent for it to work its best to provide specific stimulation to the nerve endings of the skin.  Please remember, we started our journey in 1997 and the internet was not what it is today. Therefore, buying more brushes or any supplies, really, for Elizabeth was work. I was always so careful to know exactly where the brushes were located at all times. 

Thank you little brush and big protocol for what part you played in finding Elizabeth inside of the crying little child.  

I offer to those wondering about the brush and the protocol to talk with an occupational therapist to see if the brushing will help your child.  If the answer is yes, please order on our site and start.  In my opinion and in our world, it was life saving, or rather life finding.

I wish you all a peaceful week and as always any and all responses are welcome.



**Author note** the protocol includes joint compressions as well as brushing.  Joint compressions need to be demonstrated and practiced in person to be safe and effective.  The author chose not to mention them in the article but please ask your occupational therapist about them as well.  


Toys aren’t merely devices made to keep your busy little bee while you finish folding laundry. True, some do just that, but many toys are created as educational tools to teach your children and help them develop better physical, organizational, emotional and social skills. For example, introducing your child to puzzles early on is not only a great, essential way to ensure he or she get the hang of figuring out fun stuff now, but that they also succeed in the great puzzle that is life.

More benefits of playing with puzzles include the development of great hand-eye coordination, fine and gross motor skills, plus shape recognition and problem solving. Puzzles also help children learn about their place in this world and their surroundings while they also become socially confident creatures.

Puzzles also encourage little ones to set goals and achieve them, which then promotes the emergence of self esteem —and lot of it. And maybe, one day, they’ll also do their own laundry! Til then, let’s do some puzzles.

1. First Puzzle – Treehouse


Great for building self-esteem, this puzzle is large, which is great for sweet little hands, and it’s foam, which makes it easy for wee fingers to grip. Encouraging hand-eye coordination and visual sensory development, it’s designed to really get into the brain and improve cognition, logic, and reasoning.

2. Sensory Puzzle Blocks


Nice and vibrantly colored, these puzzle blocks help develop fine and gross motor skills while improving hand-eye coordination. They’re textured, too, so as to provide tactile and visual sensory input. Stack, build, and assemble the foam pieces with friends and family to improve social skills.

3. Tot’s First Chunky Pegs


Again, here’s a puzzle that’s made to help your child develop motor skills and hand-eye coordination. This 20-piece set is designed for tots 12-months old and up to stack, sort, match, and build away with the chunky pegs and pegboard.

4. Edushape Play Mat


Now here’s a cool concept: use six-by-six foam alpha-numerical puzzle pieces to get your little darling’s logic, reasoning, and motor skills running AND build a fort! With 36 pieces to play with in total, it’ll be easy for your sweetie to get lost in a little world of numbers, letters, and learning. Creating a whimsical box full of fun, this colorful, soft, easy-to-clean floor mat has endless learning possibilities, not to mention it’s also a great insulator for cold floors. Once assembled, the mat is 72”x72” big and is perfect for designating a specific play area in the home.

5. First Puzzle – Fun Forrest


This large foam puzzle has 10 pieces that are easy to grip so they work wonderfully with little fingers. While building self-esteem, this puzzle also encourages hand-eye coordination and visual sensory development and improves motor skills, cognition, logic and reasoning. And when joined by friends and family, it can also do wonders for your child’s social skills. Did we mention it features all of your favorite forest creatures?



What will be your kid’s first or next adventure in the wonderful world of puzzles? Leave us a comment or drop by our Facebook page to tell us all about it!

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