Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Deep Pressure Tactile Therapy

How to do deep pressure: Take your son’s hand in yours. Begin at a fingertip and do a deep squeeze for about five seconds on each knuckle. Follow that bone up to his wrist, squeezing as you go. Then move to the next fingertip and repeat. Squeeze, hold about five seconds, move up the finger. This is not a massage—hold and squeeze. Hold the squeeze deep enough and long enough to get an awareness reaction. You want to go almost—but not quite—to the point of pain. Parents should try this on each other and on their other children to know how deep to squeeze before reaching a normal pain response. You may have to squeeze harder with your child with Down syndrome to get any response at all. Continue the deep pressure squeezes at the wrist and up the arm. Then switch to the other hand and arm. Finally, work your way up each leg, from the toes to the ankle, to the thigh.

The entire process should take about five minutes. Repeat the deep pressure activity two or more times each day. In my family, diaper changing time was a good time for this.

Build the deep pressure time into the fabric of your day. The time spent now will pay dividends later in gross motor and fine motor successes.

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