Autism & Asperger's Syndrome Expert Forum
Brushing Technique
About This Forum:

Questions in the Autism & Asperger's Syndrome forum are answered by researchers at the New England Center for Children. Topics covered include Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Antisocial Personality Disorder, Asperger Syndrome, Autism, blindness, bullying, clinical depression, deafness, dyslexia, mental retardation, and social alienation.

Font Size:
A
A
A
Background:
Blank
Blank
Blank
This expert forum is not accepting new questions. Please post your question in one of our medical support communities.
Blank Blank

Brushing Technique

Is it possible to do the brushing technique on yourself or does it have to be done by someone else? I have sensory issues, especially to light touch. I think I could benefit from the technique, but my resources to therapists and such are limited. I was wondering if I could just do the brushing to myself.
Tags: brushing technique, Autism, sensory, therapy, Wilbarger
Related Discussions
1539512_tn?1294812722
Sensory integration therapy has been used with individuals with autism spectrum disorders since the 1970s.  In this treatment, sensory stimulation (e.g., brushing, joint compression, swinging, etc.) is provided, with the thought that this will improve cognitive functioning and decrease problem behaviors.  Personally, I find the arguments for using this therapy a bit weak.  Some have described the logic behind using this treatment as a circular (e.g., "Why do individuals with autism have problem behavior, such as engaging in repetitive behaviors?  Because they have sensory processing issues.  How do we know they have sensory processing issues?  Because they engage in problem behavior).  


Any time I think about whether a treatment may be effective or not, the first thing I always ask is, "Is their good scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of this technique".  Testimonials and anecdotal reports do not constitute good scientific evidence.  Asking people to fill out a rating scale to judge the effectiveness of a treatment is not good scientific evidence.  Evaluating the effectiveness of one intervention while a second intervention is also in place is not good scientific evidence.  To me, scientific evidence involves doing a controlled experiment using generally accepted scientific methodology, and then submitting that experiment to scrutiny by expert reviewers.  If you use these criteria as scientific evidence, to the best of my knowledge, there is no scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of sensory integration in improving cognitive functioning or reducing problem behavior.

Many of the activities used during sensory integration therapy can be highly enjoyable.  Personally, I enjoy the sensation of rocking in a rocking chair.  At night, if I was watching television before I went to bed, I would probably really enjoy rocking in a chair while watching TV.  However, would the experience of rocking on a Sunday evening cause me to attend better during meetings at work the next week?  I doubt it. But, for the period of time I was rocking, I was really enjoying it!  Just remember that engaging in a preferred activity does not necessarily mean that it will lead to long-term improvements in behavior.  If you like the sensation that brushing provides, you can certainly do this yourself.  

I don't know all the sensory issues that you have, but many of us dislike certain sensations.  When I was young, on the 4th of July, my family always attended a big fireworks display, and the seating area was in situated where the noise of the fireworks was very loud.  I hated the loudest "booms"; I used to sit with my fingers in my ears, to make the noise more tolerable to me. Would brushing, or swinging, have increased my tolerance to that noise that I found so difficult to tolerate?  Absolutely not.  Now, as an adult, when I take my family to a similar display, we choose to sit far enough away where we can see everything, but the noise is tolerable to me.  There are plenty of strategies that can be used when people have difficulty tolerating certain sensations.

Best of luck.
Blank
Continue discussion Blank
This Forum's Experts
340676_tn?1383325484
Jason C Bourret, Ph.D., BCBA-DBlank
The New England Center for Children
Southborough, MA
MedHelp Health Answers
Blank
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
RSS Expert Activity
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Emotional Eating Control: How to St...
15 hrs ago by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
233488_tn?1310696703
Blank
New Cannabis Article from NORTH Mag...
Jul 20 by John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
3 Reasons Why You are Still Binge E...
Jul 14 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank