Effect of the Wilbarger Deep Tactile and Proprioceptive Technique on behaviour and salivary cortisol in children with sensory processing difficulties
This study investigated the short-term changes in behavioural regulation and salivary cortisol before and after administration of a single application of the Wilbarger Deep Tactile and Proprioceptive Technique (DTPT) in children with Sensory Modulation Dysfunction (SMD). In a pre- and post-test research design, the negative behaviours as well as the salivary cortisol levels of 21 participants was assessed before and after administration of the Wilbarger DTPT. Statistically, significant changes were found for negative behaviours related to participants’ concentration, attention, and readiness for a task; their behaviour in the group, and their perseverance and task completion. Children with sensory overresponsivity benefited the most from the intervention. The association between salivary cortisol levels and therefore, sympathetic nervous system arousal and the Wilbarger DTPT, was confirmed. Higher baseline cortisol levels were found for participants with sensory overresponsivity, decreasing significantly in the post-test, while the opposite was found for participants with sensory underresponsivity.
A research report submitted to the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Occupational Therapy applied to Perceptual Disorders. Johannesburg, 2015