As mention in our sensory integration therapy post, the proprioceptive sense is often impaired for children with sensory processing disorders. The proprioceptive sense brings awareness to our body parts relative to one another. For instance, if you closed your eyes right now, you could still pat your right hand on your head. This is a simple task for people with intact proprioception. The proprioceptive system coordinates the appropriate muscles of the body in order to move without even looking. It monitors the amount of force needed for an activity as well. Some common signs of sensory processing disorders of the proprioceptive sense include:
• Coloring with too much/ too little pressure
• Crashing into furniture or others
• Low tone or energy
• Poor body awareness
• Avoiding certain activities
• Playing too aggressively with others
Proprioceptive input is sensory input to activate the joints and muscles to become more responsive. Proprioceptive input should be applied every 2 hours. It can improve muscle tone, coordination, and calming of the brain. Some of our favorite activities are listed below.
Crawling exercises (do at least 5 minutes a day):
• Wheelbarrow: hold your child’s legs as they walk with their hands.
• Ready, set, go! Incorporate crawling into friendly races between you and your child.
- Army crawl: lie on your belly and move by pushing your elbows on the floor.
- Bear crawl: Crawl on all fours (hands and feet).
• Set up an obstacle course for your child to crawl through using tunnels, pillow, blankets, and furniture.
• Imitate different “crawling” animals such as dogs, cats, bears, etc.
• Have your child lay on an exercise ball on their stomach. Firmly hold your child’s back, and rock them back and forth. Rock slowly and rhythmically until their hands touch then backwards until their feet touch. Have them push strong off the floor with hands or feet. Rock back and forth 20 times.
Extra weight exercises
• Pushing or pulling exercises with a heavy box or item. Incorporate chores such as pushing the garbage to the end of the driveway!
• Lifting a heavy object above shoulder level. Be sure the weight is appropriate for your child and not too heavy.
• Wearing a weighted vest or wrist and ankle weights.
Wear weighted vest for 20 minutes every hour.
• Playing basketball with a weighted ball.
• Hang from the monkey bars.
• Climb walls, ladders, or ropes.
• Play on the zip lines, seesaws, or trapeze swings.
• Jumping on a trampoline or bouncy house. Keep it organized by counting to 100 or saying the ABC’s for every jump.
• Jump rope
• Draw squares with chalk outside then have your child jump with both feet from square to square.
Sensory input can help regulate and re-energize your child during the day. Take frequent breaks throughout the day and incorporate these activities. Learn more about sensory processing disorder here. If you feel your child would benefit from sensory integration therapy, contact Lumiere Children’s therapy for an evaluation from one of our OTs.
Braley, P. (2014, May 8). Sensory Processing: What is Proprioception? Retrieved May 10, 2017, from http://theinspiredtreehouse.com/sensory-processing- proprioception/
Proprioceptive Input: Sensory Processing Explained. (2016, October 18). Retrieved May 10, 2017, from http://lemonlimeadventures.com/proprioceptive-input-sensory- processing-explained/