Using Joint Compressions in Therapeutic Preschools | CST Academy

Using Joint Compressions in Therapeutic Preschools

Joint compressions are a specialized therapeutic technique used by occupational therapists to enhance proprioceptive input, which is the sense that informs us about the position of our limbs in space. In therapeutic preschool programs like those offered by CST Academy, incorporating joint compressions can significantly benefit children with sensory processing disorders, autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and other developmental challenges. This comprehensive blog post explores the application and benefits of joint compressions within a therapeutic preschool setting.

What Are Joint Compressions?

Joint compressions involve applying gentle pressure to a child’s joints and muscles. The technique is usually performed by a trained therapist and is intended to help regulate a child’s sensory system, particularly for those who may experience sensory overload or have difficulties with motor coordination. The compressions are believed to help by providing consistent sensory input, which can aid in calming and organizing the nervous system.

The Role of Joint Compressions in a Therapeutic Preschool

  1. Regulating Sensory Input: Joint compressions help stabilize the sensory experiences of children who might feel overwhelmed by their environment. This regulation is crucial in a preschool setting where activities can vary greatly and sensory stimuli are abundant.
  2. Improving Focus and Attention: By calming the nervous system, joint compressions can increase a child’s ability to focus and attend to tasks. This improvement is particularly beneficial in a learning environment where attention plays a critical role in educational success.
  3. Enhancing Motor Skills: Regular use of joint compressions can improve motor planning and execution. For children with motor skill challenges, these compressions help in reinforcing the body’s awareness of where it is in space, thereby assisting in coordination and balance.
  4. Supporting Participation in Activities: Children who are less distracted by sensory discrepancies are more likely to engage and participate in group activities. Joint compressions can facilitate this participation by making children feel more grounded and less anxious.
  5. Promoting Emotional Regulation: For children with ASD or similar conditions, managing emotions can be challenging. Joint compressions provide a physical anchor that can help these children experience a calming effect, which supports better emotional regulation.

Integrating Joint Compressions into Daily Routines

At CST Academy, joint compressions are integrated seamlessly into the daily routine by skilled occupational therapists who understand the needs and limits of each child. Here’s how:

  • Structured Therapy Sessions: Scheduled sessions include joint compressions as part of a broader therapeutic plan.
  • Transitional Support: Joint compressions are used during transitions between activities, helping children adjust to changes in tasks or environments.
  • Collaborative Approach: Therapists work with educators to implement brief joint compression sessions throughout the day to support sustained engagement and learning.

Training and Safety Considerations

Safety is paramount when implementing any therapeutic technique. At CST Academy:

  • Professional Training: Only qualified therapists perform joint compressions, ensuring that they are done safely and effectively.
  • Individual Assessment: Each child is assessed to determine if joint compressions are appropriate for their therapeutic needs.
  • Ongoing Monitoring: The effects of joint compressions are continuously monitored and adjustments are made based on the child’s responsiveness and comfort.

Joint compressions are a valuable component of therapeutic preschool programs, offering benefits that extend across sensory regulation, focus, motor skills, participation, and emotional regulation. At CST Academy, we are committed to utilizing evidence-based practices like joint compressions to enhance the developmental outcomes for children with diverse learning needs.

To learn more about how CST Academy utilizes joint compressions and other therapeutic techniques in our preschool programs, or to discuss whether our approach might be right for your child, please contact us today.

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"After almost 2 years our son’s time at CST Academy has come to an end. The preschool program has done wonders for him. Ms Jaclyn is such a warm, kind and patient teacher. She and my son’s OT (Ms. Nikki) and ST (Ms. Erika) worked together to ensure he was meeting all of his goals. The level of collaboration between all therapies shows how dedicated they are to helping your child reach their full potential. They have all made such an impact on him, it’s amazing to see the changes since he started there. He has blossomed into a strong, confident boy who is more than prepared to start his new school in a few weeks. We will always fondly remember our time at CST Academy. Can’t recommend them enough!"
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