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Proprioceptive System

What is our proprioceptive system?

This is what gives our bodies the intrinsic ability to locate itself and its extremities in space using receptors in the skin, muscles, joints, and ligaments. It's also responsible for knowing how much effort to use when performing simple tasks, such as lifting a glass or using a pencil. Children with proprioceptive processing issues may have trouble gauging their own strength, or they may appear clumsy and frequently bump into walls, furniture, or other people.

How to provide your child with proprioceptive input?

  • Animal Walks

  • Trampoline Games

  • Climbing

  • Joint Compressions

  • Large Therapy Ball Activities

  • Wheelbarrow Walks

  • Pillow Crashes

  • Heavy Work- Carrying in groceries or taking out the trash

  • Obstacle Courses

  • Weighted Ball

Games to Foster Proprioceptive Input

  • Yoga Dice: Roll the dice and see what yoga move to do next. This allows your child to participate in slow and controlled movement patterns. It is common for our children who are under responsive to proprioceptive input to constantly be moving and doing things that are as quick as possible. When we foster slow and controlled movement patterns it allows for more proprioceptive input and increased modulation.

  • Therapy Ball Games: The therapy ball can provide a very diverse way to give your child input. Kids LOVE the therapy ball!! They love to bounce all over the house...which is fun but does not help with sensory modulation. It is helpful to facilitate structured games to help with strength, endurance, sensory processing and coordination.

  • Puzzles with Animal Walks: Animal walks such as bear crawls, crab walks, frog hops, snake slithers, and horse gallops are wonderful for providing organized proprioceptive input. Pick a puzzle that is skill and/or age appropriate then place all the puzzle pieces at one end of the room and the board at the other end. Have your child do an animal walk down to get a puzzle piece and place the piece on the board. Then change the animal walk for the next round. Encourage your child to go slow and controlled because it is not a race.

The key component to using the proprioceptive system to help with modulation is organized. Parents will often say, "We went to the park, jumped on the trampoline and rode their bike but they are still running around in the house like a wild person." When prop is not organized it can often be over stimulating to a child. Free play is essential to growth and development so there definitely has to be a balance. Try an obstacle course at the park, deep breathing on the trampoline, and riding their bike while going through the alphabet to add more organization and modulation.

Common Red Flags:

  1. Often perceived as bad behavior: difficulty controlling their body and staying still

  2. Difficulty keeping hands and legs to their self: often seems to be in other spaces

  3. Can come across as very aggressive in play: likes to play rough and tough

  4. Very clumsy and has a hard time with coordination tasks

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