You may have read our blog about the sixth sense of the vestibular system. But did you know that there’s a seventh sense as well? This is proprioception. To recap, the vestibular system consists of the inner ear, which lends us our balance and sense of gravity. The proprioceptive system is similar, but instead of having to do with the way the inner ear provides balance it has to do with the way muscles and joints provide coordinated movement. Most people don’t have to think about their vestibular or proprioceptive systems, but for some people controlling these systems takes concentrated effort. Some children who have problems with proprioception may apply too little or too much pressure when doing activities like coloring, kicking a ball, or shaking hands. Fortunately, children can improve their proprioception with games that are simple and fun!
Games for Proprioception
Engaging in everyday play that allows for exploration and movement is a great way for children to naturally strengthen their proprioceptive systems. Simply playing on monkey bars, slides, swings, and climbing equipment on the playground can provide excellent proprioceptive input. Jumping with a trampoline or jump rope is also a great way to engage in proprioceptive input. Many children seek resistance for proprioceptive input, so playing with toys like stress balls and resistance bands are great for this type of proprioceptive input. Getting kids involved with household chores that stimulate the proprioceptive systems is also a great practice. These are chores like pushing a vacuum, carrying laundry, or taking out the trash. Finally, you can sign your child up for a class that provides proprioceptive input! These are classes like swimming, yoga, and karate. Not only do these classes provide proprioceptive stimulation, they also help children to build their social skills and learn to work on a team. Still need a little more guidance? Attend one of our classes at our Tot Gym! These classes target specific behaviors and give parents and caregivers methods to manage behaviors outside of the class.
The Connections Therapy Center
The Connections Therapy Center is a top therapy center serving families of children and adolescents with disabilities. Our team consists of the leading experts in the fields of pediatric speech, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and behavior sciences. We offer intensive, hands-on therapy for children and adolescents as well as resources for families. We are real therapists helping real families with real issues. If you are concerned about your child’s behavior, take a moment to fill out our quick questionnaire. If you’d like to schedule an appointment, call 202-561-1110 (Washington, D.C. office) or 301-577-4333 (Lanham office) or contact us via our website. Want to keep up with our latest news and blog posts? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.