Wilbarger Protocol

The Wilbarger Protocol is a very specific technique created by Occupational Therapist, Patricia Wilbarger, who is a leader in the Occupational Therapy profession. She created and used this protocol successfully to treat sensory defensiveness in babies and children. Sensory defensiveness is defined as hypersensitivity or over-reactivity to multiple types of sensory input. This can include hypersensitivity to touch, taste/foods, smells, loud sounds, visually stimulating environments, and/or the sensation of movement (tipping backwards, swinging, car rides, etc…) to the point of having an adverse reaction, before the action even occurs. This is due to negative emotional memories being stored in the body, causing an excessive emotional response from the child.

Our director was trained by Patricia Wilbarger for the correct use of this protocol many years ago. Wilbarger trained therapists are the only therapists that should be using this protocol, because it is most often taught incorrectly and then passed on to other family members, teachers or caregivers incorrectly. We spend an hour at our facility training one family member on this protocol, and then have them demonstrate it correctly back to us before they can purchase a brush and complete it at home. We follow up on the accuracy of the protocol multiple times until each parent or caregiver demonstrates this protocol with proficiency. This is a powerful tool to help calm a child’s nervous system and we take it seriously. Please do not watch a video or read about it and try it at home, as it will not be correct. We are more than happy to help train you and your family on this protocol to help your child. We can also help you figure out why it hasn’t worked in the past, and if it’s not well tolerated, what can be done instead.

You can call our office for more information on how to proceed with this parent training. We can determine ahead of time what testing, if any, needs to be completed first. This most often includes a sensory evaluation from an Occupational Therapist. We can take current testing and treatment plans from other service providers if your child’s report has the information we need to help you with this protocol, or with an alternative plan.