NeuroDevelopmental Tip – Deep Pressure

Going for a walk with my daughter, Jenee’ was somewhat of an adventure. Even though she had special needs, one wouldn’t expect to be run off the sidewalk and into the street during a simple walk around the block. I found out later from a neurodevelopmentalist that Jenee’ didn’t really know where she was in space (proprioception). Until she got enough input to her brain from touching or bumping into something or someone, her brain didn’t register her position. Another part of the “walk adventure” was that she often wanted to hold hands when we walked. My love language is touch so this was appealing to me except for the excruciating pain I often felt from her SQUEEZING my hand. Yikes! Why did she have to squeeze so hard? Again, her brain was not registering pain correctly so she acted accordingly. She didn’t realize how hard she was squeezing even when I told her. She would lighten the grip on verbal command but pretty soon the vice was again applied.

So perhaps there’s a little person or big person for that matter in your life that is too rough with their sibling, squeezes the cat, has unexplained bruises from outdoor play, hugs too hard, or wets the bed well after the age of potty training. It might just be a proprioception issue. Our brain controls everything that we do; so if you notice an unusual issue, you can be sure it has to do with the way the brain is currently functioning. What do you mean, “currently functioning?” Isn’t the brain set in a particular way and you are stuck with what you have? No, that is the wonderful thing I discovered in my neurodevelopmental journey. The brain can grow and change, it just has to have enough of the right kind of specific stimulation.

ND (NeuroDevelopmental) Tip of the Day: One activity that helps build the pathways in the brain associated with proprioception or deep sensation of pain is an activity we call, Deep Pressure. Just as we intuitively play “this little piggy…” with an infant’s toes, Deep Pressure is designed to give enough deep touch input to the brain for it to register pain from the body appropriately which improves function. For example, if your body doesn’t recognize pain correctly, bed-wetting may occur if the brain doesn’t send a message to wake you if your bladder is full.

Deep Pressure should be done for 4 minutes, twice a day, for about 6 to 8 months. Press up to the point of pain, starting with the tips of the fingers of one hand and working up the hand and arm to the shoulders taking about one minute to make the journey. Now, press on the toes and work up the leg to just past the knee in the next minute. Do this on both arms and legs in one 4-minute session.

After a time the pathways will be built in the brain for better function. Jenee’s function was majorly enhanced by this activity. Before doing Deep Pressure, she could not fold towels, at all. There was always a pile of mangled mess when she tried. One day about two months after doing Deep Pressure regularly, I came into the room to find a stack of perfectly folded towels. I asked who helped her because I couldn’t believe my eyes; but since I was the only one home with her, well, the proof was in the “input” as we say.

A deep sense of pain is only one area for brain development. Look for more ND Tips in the near future.

Does your child need unique educational interventions? Jan Bedell, aka Brain Coach, is a mom who has been where you are. Efforts through public, private and traditional home school provided little change for her daughter.  Because of the help she found for Jenee’ with the neurodevelopmental approach, Dr. Jan Bedell became a master neurodevelopmentalist over two decades ago. She is the founder of Little Giant Steps (LGS) and the COB of Steps of Hope, 501 c3. Both organizations are dedicated to helping children, teens and adults reach their fullest God-given potential whether they are gifted, typical or challenged. Curriculum development and training programs for parents and professionals has been her specialty. Her approach: Life-changing! Her goal: Making learning and life easier for millions!