What your senses Do:
Focus ~ Proprioceptive (How my body fits together) System
Is your child somewhat clumsy? Does he bang around the house, leaning into people, stomping on the floor, trailing hands along the wall and crashing into things with vigor? Does she love being in the bath or swimming at the pool and resist getting out? You may have a child with reduced proprioceptive function.
Proprioceptive receptors are found in our joints and muscles. They are activated by pressure and stretch. When this system is operating well, a child innately knows where he or she is in space and knows where each body part is connected. They can reach or step with precision, grade the intensity of their grasp, and use their eyes for focus on what they are playing with or learning without having thoughts distracted by needing to also be paying attention to their body. Kids without automatically functioning systems are often seeking extra feedback to “find” themselves and experience an inner “knowing” of their body in space. They often seek hugs, squeeze objects too tightly or hold things/pull things too loosely when working. Water is their friend as the resistance provided by the water during movement gives them a “picture” of where their body is and how the parts are connected. Kids without proprioception are often clumsy and seem unaware of where they are in relation to their surroundings at times.
Deep pressure activities, carrying heavy objects, pushing things with force ~ each of these helps to activate and develop the proprioceptive system. Once engaged more fully, children have more confidence in what they are doing, more organization for motor planning of both fine and gross motor activities, and less stress emotionally during tasks. It is a key foundational system for higher learning and success in life.