Calming Head and Forehead Input & Headbanging Advice

Tip for the day: Give calming input to the child’s scalp and forehead.

While we often think of giving deep touch input to a child’s limbs or entire body, it’s easy to overlook how

While we often think of giving deep touch input to a child’s limbs or entire body, it is easy to overlook how comforting and calming to her system it can be to get deep pressure against her scalp and forehead. To massage a child’s head or forehead, use your fingers gently, moving your fingertips or the heel of your hand in a circular motion and pressing firmly. Some children enjoy the sensation of a hand-held vibrator pressed to the forehead or scalp, or even a vibrating hairbrush. They may also enjoy activities where they push items with their forehead, such as pushing a toy across the floor.

Encourage her to wear a headband, stretchy cap, or kerchief that puts pressure against her forehead. She can wear these items alone or under another hat. Also, a hoodie sweatshirt can provide pressure on the scalp if the child puts his hands in the pockets and pulls down, stretching the material and pulling the hood down tighter on the top of his head. You can also ask your OT about using a weighted cap, sold in therapy catalogs.

You may find that if you give regular deep pressure input to hisforehead as part of a sensory diet, he is less likely to engage in head banging when frustrated. However, head banging can also be a sign of an ear infection, vision problems, teething, food intolerances, headaches, and even in some cases, seizures, so check into these possibilities as well (your pediatrician can refer you to a pediatric neurologist if seizures are suspected). In severe cases of head banging, an OT or other professional may suggest that the child wear a helmet to protect hisscalp. But if your child is verbal, ask him about why he is head banging, and whether these activities and accommodations might give him the nice, firm pressure against his forehead or scalp that he is craving. Then too, consider changing his hairstyle to one that is more comfortable for him, as an irritating hairstyle may cause him (or her) to seek out calming input to the head.

You can find a vibrating hairbrush here.

The information contained in this blog is provided as a public service. It is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as personal medical advice. Although every effort is made to ensure that this material is accurate and up-to-date, it is provided for the convenience of the user and should not be considered definitive.


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