What is proprioception and why is it important?
The proprioceptive system is also called the internal GPS of the body or body awareness.
This system helps us to determine what our body parts are doing, where they are moving, how hard/soft they are performing tasks and the timing of movements. This system further guides our movements especially when the eyes can’t see e.g. walking backwards / walking in the dark.
Proprioception is determined by input received by the ligaments and joints.
Signs that a child’s proprioceptive system isn’t working optimally:
o Bumps into furniture/walls/other people
o Falls often
o Appears clumsy
o Sense of self/my space is insufficient
o Seeks proprioceptive input e.g. loves falling down, crashing into others/furniture, loves rough and tumble games
o Has poor muscle tone or postural control
o Hurts friends/pets without meaning too
o Struggles with timing of movements e.g. catching a ball
Activities that can help:
Any activity that provides resistance or deep pressure input activates the proprioceptive system.
o Swinging on monkey bars
o Crawling on all fours
o Wrestling with dad
o Lying on your tummy and supporting yourself on your forearms
o Standing on your knees and building Lego’s on the wall
o Standing on all fours and building a puzzle on the floor
o Using a watering can to water flowers
o Jumping on a trampoline