Parents of children with SPD are often looking for ways to improve the lives of their children in every way possible. While it is a very hard concept considering that SPD research is minimal at best, we believe that there are certain methods of therapy that will allow parents to rest assured that they are helping their children as much as possible.
One version of assistance that we see many therapists suggest is “Deep Touch Pressure.” Deep touch pressure is a mode of therapy (or intervention) that has a focus on improving your child’s sensory modulation by reducing their responses to distracting stimuli. As you probably know by now, sensory modulation is a term used to describe the characteristics of a person who over-responds, under-responds, or fluctuates their responses to sensory inputs in a way that is disproportional to the input.
Sensory modulation affects everything from children who struggle to focus on tasks, sit down on a chair, or stay in the same place for a significant amount of time. This lack of focus is not simply your child having a “short attention span”, but it could be your child responding to the stimuli around them instead of staying focused on the task at hand. For example, it might be hard for them to sit down and stay still if they hear all of their peers sitting down, scooting their chairs, whispering, etc.
Children with SPD get distracted by many things, because their bodies respond to stimuli differently than most. As we have touched upon in previous articles, the best way to address this is to help your children form good habits, not to chastise the bad ones.
With that in mind, deep touch therapy focuses on diverting your child’s attention away from the stimuli around them and directing it to the task at hand. One method of deep touch therapy is a “pressure vest,” which can be worn all day. While it might not seem like much, the pressure from the vest will reduce purposeless hyperactivity, self-stimulatory behaviors, and increase balance and stability.
Since children with SPD often have different reactions and perceptions to sensory inputs, having something like pressure vest, a weighted blanked, or a weighted lap pad can neutralize everything that is going on around them and get them to focus on the task at hand. It is not a panacea for all of their struggles, but it certainly helps when it comes to getting them to focus on one thing at a time.
As always, we encourage you to talk to a medical professional before making important decisions like whether you want to engage in deep touch therapy for your child. You need to weigh every option for your loved one, because it is not just your well-being at hand. If you have any questions about where you should go if deep touch therapy doesn’t work, please don’t worry. There are many methods, and every child is different. Stay tuned, we will be back with more soon!