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Proprioceptive Input and Activities

Sensory processing is the process that interprets and organizes sensory information we receive from our own body and the environment around us. There are several types of sensory systems in our body that help us interact with our environment including, vision, auditory, gustatory, vestibular, olfactory, tactile, and proprioception.

What is proprioceptive input and what does it do?

Proprioception is the body’s ability to receive information from the environment through receptors in our muscles and joints, the same way that our eyes receive visual information. Proprioceptive information tells our body where it is in space and how it is moving. It allows us regulate what direction or how much force to use when moving and it is mostly stimulated by active movement of our muscles and joints. This sensory system is also believed to help regulate our emotions and behaviors, and can help increase attention.

If your child appears clumsy, is constantly on the move, uses too much or too little force on pencils, scissors, objects, or people, has difficulty regulating emotions or behaviors, they may benefit from activities that provide proprioceptive input.

Proprioceptive activities:

  • Weight-bearing activities, such as crawling or pushups
  • Resistance activities such as pushing or pulling.
  • Heavy work activities such as carrying books.
  • Cardiovascular activities such as running, jumping, skipping.
  • Oral activities such as chewing, or blowing bubbles.
  • Deep pressure activities such as tight hugs or weighted items.

Dana Humphrey, MS,OTR/L