Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Living Edition
| Editors: Fred R. Volkmar

Deep Pressure Proprioception Touch Technique

  • Winifred Schultz-KrohnEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6435-8_1056-3


Wilbarger Protocol

Deep pressure proprioceptive touch technique (DPPT): Previously known as the Wilbarger Protocol, DPPT was developed by two occupational therapists, Patricia and Julia Wilbarger, to address sensory defensiveness. This technique requires specific training and includes three parts where first a client’s arms, back, and legs are brushed firmly with a soft-bristled brush similar to a surgical brush. Then joint compressions are applied at specified joints throughout the body, and finally a sensory diet is prescribed to address sensory defensiveness. This technique has been effectively used to reduce sensory defensiveness and has been linked to bringing salivary cortisol levels closer to normal values in children with sensory processing deficits. The cortisol levels have been used as a measure of stress in children, and with the use of the DPPT, the levels of cortisol approached a normal level. The recommended frequency for this technique is every 2 h during waking hours for 2 weeks to see diminished sensory defensive behaviors. A pilot investigation using the DPPT was successful in reducing self-injurious behaviors in women with depression and a history of self-injurious behaviors. A follow-up 9 months after providing DPPT found women reported a decrease in self-harming behaviors.

References and Reading

  1. Kimball, J. G., Lynch, K. M., Stewart, K. C., Williams, N. E., Thomas, M. A., & Atwood, K. D. (2007). Using salivary cortisol to measure the effects of a Wilbarger protocol-based procedure on sympathetic arousal: A pilot study. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 61, 406–413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Occupational Therapy DepartmentSan Jose State UniversitySan JoseUSA