Child background and condition.
This child is 9 years old, attends special school and has been coming Tiny Tim’s Children’s Centre for 5 years. In the past, this child has received some physiotherapy and occupational therapy in school and at the centre. The child presents with autism and hyper-mobility. The child attends weekly sessions at the centre.
Why is the child coming for massage therapy?
The mother came into centre to see if massage therapy would fulfil an aim for the child’s sensory diet set by their school occupational therapist. The outcome the mother wanted to achieve was for the child to undertake deep pressure activities to help them calm and relax.
Goals of the therapy
The initial aim of the massage therapist was to establish eye contact, body language communication and acceptance to touch to enable the deliverance of deep pressure massage in an engaging way for the child.
How sessions were conducted
Due to the nature of the child’s behaviour, the massage sessions not only consisted of deep pressure work but also singing songs to get the child to engage with others and to get them focused so they will sit or lay still. During the sessions, the child is free to go where they want. The child usually chooses to stay on the treatment bed and fidget if they chose to.
Over time this child has indicated by placing the therapist’s hands on certain body parts and moves the therapist’s hand in the technique they want the therapist to do. The child indicates when they have had enough treatment by stepping off the treatment bed. On some occasions, this child has fallen asleep during deep massage sessions.
Changes seen in the child’s behaviour since starting massage sessions
Over the first 6 months of the current therapist treating the child, the child has given good eye contact and requested things such as songs or activities from the therapist therefore showing confidence in asking and engaging others.
Over the last year this child’s communication with the therapist has grown a lot and they have developed sounds which are associated with different requests and commands, not just hand gestures (e.g. pointing to objects) as was previously done in the last 3 years.
Impact on the Family
Massage techniques have been shown to guardians for them do at home as well. The family have shown they can perform these techniques with confidence at home when the child has asked them to. The guardians and the child’s siblings have stated they enjoy the response they receive from the child when performing this task and have developed their interaction skills with the child.