What is Proprioception and Why is it Important?

What: Proprioception is the concept of knowing where your body is in space (body awareness) and the ability to safely maneuver around your environment. It also includes the use of heavy work activities and the ability to stimulate the joint receptors.

Why: Proprioceptive input is important for a child’s frog jumpsdevelopment because it helps them to feel a sense of self, aides in self-regulation and promotes success in both fine motor and gross motor activities. It is also important as it helps a child to be aware of their “personal space” and how to appropriately engage with their peers without overstepping their boundaries (e.g. hugging without asking) or not engaging enough (e.g. decreased eye contact).

Activities to provide proprioceptive input:

  • Wheelbarrow walks
  • Bear hugs
  • Body pillow “sandwich” (have child lay between two large body pillows and provide them with moderate squishes)
  • Frog jumps
  • Jumping on a trampoline or on a mattress
  • Pushing a heavy basket/cart (e.g. fill a laundry basket and have child push across the house)
  • Pulling a heavy wagon
  • Squeezing or rolling playdough/theraputty
  • Bouncing on a pogo stick or on a hippity hop ball
  • Climbing a rockwall
  • Monkey bars
  • Tug of war (e.g. use a towel to play tug of war with a partner using both hands; place pillows behind each child, so that if they fall or lose their balance, they can crash into the pillows)

Amanda Mathews

Amanda Mathews, M.S., OTR/L is a licensed Occupational Therapist. She graduated from UW-Whitewater with a Bachelor’s degree in Communicative Disorders, and then Mt. Mary College with a Master’s of Science in Occupational Therapy. Amanda has experience working in occupational therapy with adults and children of all ages in a variety of settings, including hospitals, homes, and private outpatient and pediatric clinics. Outside of occupational therapy, Amanda has experience working as a line therapist, daycare provider, nanny, swim instructor, and Sunday school teacher. Amanda is dedicated to addressing the needs of children and helping them to be successful in their everyday lives.

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2 replies
  1. Raj says:

    Hello Amanda, Very useful article. My son, has these symptoms. Sometimes he holds his foot in hands. While sitting in chair, he folds his legs and sits on his feet. We have been practicing Wheel barrow walks daily for a month now. He loves doing it. He is little calmer than before.
    Have some questions.
    How long these activities needs to be done to make him feel normal?
    Is there any specific excercise for his condition
    Thanks
    Raj

    Reply

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  1. […] to the dog’s body, thus creating a calming effect; this belief stems from the concept of proprioception according to Sensory Integration theory. Proprioceptive input is the input the body receives from […]

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