Proprioception is the body’s ability to be aware of itself. It’s how we know where our nose, ears, or eyes are, how our body moves, how much strength our muscles need, how much space our body takes up. It is basically our “sixth sense”.
Children who are missing or lacking in this skill will find ways to seek it out. Proprioceptive Dysfunction will show itself in the following ways: pushing, banging, shaking, playing rough, biting, clumsiness, among other things.
Those who are seeking out proprioception crave sensory stimulation. Ways to do this are through movement, pressure, and physical contact. Heavy work and deep pressure activities are used to help develop proprioception. Below is a list of heavy work and deep pressure activities you can do with your child:
- Monkey bars
- Pushing (a wall, chair, bin)
- Animal walks (crab, bear, frog)
- Rolling on a gym ball
- Housework (sweeping, carrying items such as groceries, trash cans, or laundry basket)
- Pillow fights
- Bear hugs
- Jumping (trampoline, off a couch, jump rope)
- Weighted blanket
- Rolling child in tight blanket to make a “burrito”