If you have sat across from a sensory integration trained Occupational Therapist or attended one of our sensory Groovy Adventurer Programmes (GAP for short!)…or even if you have googled…you may have come across the word Proprioception and thought…Proprio…WHAT?!
Proprioception refers to the way our body feels, where it is and how it moves in relation to the environment and others. This information comes from your Groovy Adventurer’s joints and muscles and helps his visual system to make meaning of what he is seeing and what he is feeling. It is one of our “near senses” and is like the body’s own internal GPS! Just like the skin houses all the touch receptors, the muscles and joints house the receptors which carry body position sense and information to the brain. Naturally any stretching or contracting through pushing, pulling, hanging or heavy work will activate these receptors. Little “on-the-go” Groovy Adventurers seem to sometimes need and actively seek a lot of proprioception by bashing, crashing, falling, leaning and hugging a lot! This may be because proprioception can be quite soothing! Just like a baby can be rocked, bounced or swaddled to calm and sooth him, so too can a young Groovy Adventurer’s tired and overloaded nervous system be re-booted as such by engaging in any active pushing or pulling action or any firm deep pressure.
So when you see your Groovy Adventurer running and crashing or giving Rhino hugs and head buts…help his sensory system reboot by offering this kind of sensory soothing input and know that not only are you both enjoying his squeals of delight as he is buried under a mountain of pillows and cushions, but also, you are helping his body gauge the force and direction of his body movements better, which later will help him know how hard or softly to hold the pencil and how hard to kick a ball to accurately aim it into a target! You are also helping his developing nervous system to cope with the sensory demands of his busy little world!
So quick, run to the bed armed with soft teddies, pillows, blankets and bean bags and have FUN bashing, crashing, tumbling, falling, squealing and developing!