Another consideration within the area of proprioception is what is referred to as the ‘grading of movement.’ This means that a person has problems judging the weight of objects. Re-read Day #51 -Goosfraba for a reminder of what this can look like.
In Day 8 – Making Sense of Proprioception I commented briefly on the noise when Tucker goes down the stairs. Not only does he not want to take his feet off the ground, he also cannot judge how much force is needed to go down the stairs. I am not joking when I tell you it sounds like a herd of elephants. Watch the video below.
These are our stairs, this is Tucker. I asked him to go down the stairs, he didn’t ask why. I sat at the top of the stairs with my phone and ‘snuck’ this video. When you combine knowledge about the vestibular and the proprioceptive systems you begin to make sense out of behaviors that seem strange. One of the five original elements set forth by Carol Kranowitz is that rarely does an individual behavior reflect troubles with a singular sense. While the senses work together to create meaning, they also work together to distort meaning for individuals on the spectrum. Watch for three behaviors in this video:
- The lack of flexibility in his feet – and this is after years of physical therapy (see Day #27 – The Balancing Act: Celebrating Physical Therapists).
- The speed at which he goes down stairs – he does not like his feet leaving the ground (see Day #50 – Overcoming Fear to Trust).
- The force at which he goes down the stairs – he cannot gauge the correct amount of force necessary (proprioception, specifically grading of movement).
What does all this mean? I uploaded this video to give an example of the ‘reality.’ My elephant going down the stairs is really not a big deal, but I know folks who would make it a big deal. So, the next time a child breaks a pencil or flings a glass of juice across the table, just remember. Remember my beloved elephant…
Grading of Movement Checklist (from http://www.sensory-processing-disorder.com/sensory-processing-disorder-checklist.html):
_x_ misjudges how much to flex and extend muscles during tasks/activities (i.e., putting arms into sleeves or climbing)
_x_ difficulty regulating pressure when writing/drawing; may be too light to see or so hard the tip of writing utensil breaks
_x_ written work is messy and he/she often rips the paper when erasing
_x_ always seems to be breaking objects and toys
_x_ misjudges the weight of an object, such as a glass of juice, picking it up with too much force sending it flying or spilling, or with too little force and complaining about objects being too heavy
_x_ may not understand the idea of “heavy” or “light”; would not be able to hold two objects and tell you which weighs more
_x_ seems to do everything with too much force; i.e., walking, slamming doors, pressing things too hard, slamming objects down
__ plays with animals with too much force, often hurting them
P.S.- I would never really call Tucker an elephant and no real elephants were harmed in the writing of this blog.