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Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Deep Pressure Therapy

Josie had a period of about two months that were temper tantrum after temper tantrum, and meltdown after meltdown.  It was living hell for me, Kevin, Sofia and her.  As her communication has increased, the tantrums and meltdowns have decreased, but not stopped.  I researched and researched, as I constantly am doing, and decided to try deep pressure therapy.  The results have been...


The first day that I tried it, I stopped three meltdowns/tantrums dead in their tracks!  

What is deep pressure therapy?  It's exactly what it sounds like - applying deep pressure.  I do it in the form of bear hugs.  Like squeeze as hard as you can bear hugs.  There are lots of other methods, like weighted vests or blankets, squeezing apparatuses, massages or brushing.

How do I use it?  Well, when I see the first signs of meltdown (I don't mean the little normal two year old tantrums over juice or cookies, I mean the real meltdowns/tantrums I experience) I hold my arms out to Josie.  She comes running (Yay!  That never used to be the case!)  I hold her in my arms and hug her as I tight as I can, with her arms and legs pushed into me so that she's in a ball.

How effective has it been?  In the past, if I held Josie in my arms during one of her fits, she would push me away screaming and crying.  But she would gaze at me and look as though she wanted to be held.  When I use deep pressure, she doesn't try to get away.  She does continue crying.  Bit by bit I feel the tension let go out of her, and feel her body relax until it's almost completely limp.  She usually stops crying, or at least has lessened the intensity of the crying.  I hold her like that until she signals she wants to be released.  By that point, she is completely calm.

Why would I recommend it?  Because you have nothing to lose!  Trying out a bear hug style form of the therapy takes little time, no money, and actually not all that much effort!  If it works, great!  If it doesn't, you've lost nothing!

We plan on making Josie a weighted blanket to try out as a continuation of the therapy.  I may try out the brushing technique, I need to talk to an OT about it first.  I definitely want to buy/make some sort of a hammock style swing/chair.  

It is very hard to find any real information on deep pressure therapy.  Most of the sites that Google returns are for merchandise.  I'm kind of "winging it."  After I've finished figuring it all out, I'll be sure to share more in depth information!

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