Day #55 – Field Testing Proprioception

I am enthralled by the research that surrounds proprioception. The very word is a combination of [Latin] proprius meaning ‘one’s own’ and perception.  Therefore, proprioception is the perception of self – actually a perception of where your body is and what it is doing.

Prooprioception is often referred to as the ‘sixth sense’ I already reviewed what the proprioceptive system is on Day 8 – Making Sense of Proprioception.  While there is some argument of whether this is a ‘real’ sense or not, I would emphatically say yes.  The traditional senses (hearing, smelling, touching, tasting, seeing) are external – they collect information from outside of our body and transmit in.  Proprioception collects information from within the body.  Make sense (pun unintended)?

My favorite ‘it’s like this story’ goes something like this…

It’s been a long week.  It’s finally Friday after work.  You decide to indulge in a couple of beers (or glasses of wine).  Before you know it you may have had four.  You start knocking things over.  You bump into walls.  You trip over a piece of paper on the floor.  This is what having troubles with your proprioceptive system is like.  The field sobriety test?  It’s a test of proprioception.

i-challengingsobrietytest

Imagine that life…walking around like you’ve had one too many.

Constantly misjudging where your body is in space.

Proprioception occurs because the nerve pathways that travel from your brain to your muscles are two-way: Orders go out along one set of nerves, and proprioception goes back along another. Proprioception allows you to pick up a remembered object without looking at it, to walk without looking at your feet, to move in the dark without falling over, and to accurately kick a football while looking at it and not your feet.  (http://synapse.org.au/get-the-facts/proprioception-fact-sheet.aspx)

But – the real question is, how does it manifest itself?  What are signs that your child may struggle with their proprioceptive system?

Does your child crash or stomp down the stairs?  Does your child love to be wrapped like a mummy or taco at the end of the day?  Does your child love bear hugs?  Does your child roughhouse and tackle?  Does your child bump into other children – but don’t seem to know they are bumping?  Does your child chew on straws, pens, and/or shirts?

They likely need proprioceptive system field testing.  Check out that list below.  Do we have proprioception issues in our house?  Oh boy, do we ever.

What can we do?  Several modifications exist to help children develop their proprioceptive system. (http://www.sensory-processing-disorder.com/heavy-work-activities.html)

  • Carrying objects like groceries, backpacks, and watering cans.
    • These children need practice, practice, practice until those transmitters create new, improved pathways.
  • Pushing and pulling objects like wagons, shopping cars, vacuums brooms, and snow shovels (parents all over are cheering right now).
    • These children need practice, practice, practice until those transmitters create new, improved pathways.
  • Jumping and bouncing on trampolines, therapy balls, bean bag chairs, and pogosticks (see Day 11 – Crash Into Me).  
    • These children need practice, practice, practice until those transmitters create new, improved pathways.
  • Climbing and hanging on things such as jungle gyms, monkey bars, hanging rings, rock walls, andziplines.
    • These children need practice, practice, practice until those transmitters create new, improved pathways.
  • Sandwiching and squishing like rolling up children in mats or heavy blankets, using weighted blankets (see Day #53 – Weighted Blankets), rolling a giant exercise ball on top of children while they lay on the floor, and playing games like Twister.
    •  These children need practice, practice, practice until those transmitters create new, improved pathways.
  • Working on vertical surfaces like tabletop easels, washing windows, and painting.
    • These children need practice, practice, practice until those transmitters create new, improved pathways.
  • Using resistive tools or toys like clothespins, spray bottles, rolling pins, and spray nozzles on garden hoses.
    •  These children need practice, practice, practice until those transmitters create new, improved pathways.
  • Fidgeting or playing with stretchy and squishy items such as play-doh, rubber bands, and stress relief balls.
    • These children need practice, practice, practice until those transmitters create new, improved pathways.
  • Working on resistive surfaces such as sidewalk chalk, using sanding blocks, and brushing a dog.
    •  These children need practice, practice, practice until those transmitters create new, improved pathways.
  • Cooking activities that involve stirring, pressing, and kneading.
    • These children need practice, practice, practice until those transmitters create new, improved pathways.
  • Providing chewy foods such as dried fruit, gummy bears, licorice, cheese, taffy, and popcorn.
    •  These children need practice, practice, practice until those transmitters create new, improved pathways.
  • Using long straws,popsicles, and hard candy to reinforce the sucking action.
    • These children need practice, practice, practice until those transmitters create new, improved pathways.
  • Blowing bubbles, blowing balloons, and using kazoos or whizzers to practice blowing.  
    • These children need practice, practice, practice until those transmitters create new, improved pathways.

Finally, and possibly most important – work with the professionals.

Let them be a part of your child’s ‘field test team’  (see Day #38 – Teamwork).

Checklist (from http://www.sensory-processing-disorder.com/sensory-processing-disorder-checklist.html):
_x_ seeks out jumping, bumping, and crashing activities

_x_ stomps feet when walking

__ kicks his/her feet on floor or chair while sitting at desk/table

__ bites or sucks on fingers and/or frequently cracks his/her knuckles

_x_ loves to be tightly wrapped in many or weighted blankets, especially at bedtime

__ prefers clothes (and belts, hoods, shoelaces) to be as tight as possible

_x_ loves/seeks out “squishing” activities

_x_ enjoys bear hugs

_x_ excessive banging on/with toys and objects

_x_ loves “roughhousing” and tackling/wrestling games

_x_ frequently falls on floor intentionally

__ would jump on a trampoline for hours on end

_x_ grinds his/her teeth throughout the day

_x_ loves pushing/pulling/dragging objects

__ loves jumping off furniture or from high places

_x_ frequently hits, bumps or pushes other children

_x_ chews on pens, straws, shirt sleeves etc.

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “Day #55 – Field Testing Proprioception

  1. Pingback: Day #113 – The Greatest Treasure? Knowledge. | 366 Days of Autism

  2. Pingback: Day #115 – What’s the Point? | 366 Days of Autism

  3. Pingback: Day #213 – Like Pulling Teeth | 366 Days of Autism

  4. Pingback: Day #266 – Coaching | 366 Days of Autism

  5. Pingback: Day #327 – Indexing | 366 Days of Autism

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s