I will describe some signs of proprioception sense from my perspective, as a mom who is raising a child with sensory needs.
I identify this need when my child is either over or under responsive to information from his surroundings. His proprioceptive system is not regulated, which means that his muscles and joints (channels of information) do not take the right messages to his brain. As a result, he is out of sync, and his body is actively seeking for intense sensory experiences. For example:
With extreme force, he engages in jumping on a trampoline, wrestling, crashing car toys and slamming doors
He likes moving his body in circles and rocking it
Walks with heavy feet that sound like stomping
Kicks floor or chair while sitting
Likes to chew on straws, clothes, and suck on his fingers
He enjoys walking and playing in the dark
He likes deep pressure like tight bear hugs
Most boys can often be described in this manner without the other complications of the proprioceptive disorder. However, it is very important to know how sensory processing can affect behavior and why children might be behaving in a certain way. Some parents are unaware of this particular sense, and they think that their children just need more discipline or they are in need of a “time out.” Also, the signs may be confused with symptoms of mild autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms.
Here are other signs that I notice when my child avoids proprioceptive input:
He is sensitive to bright lights and complains that normal light is too bright
He refuses to take a bath and dislikes water on his face
Complains about smells
Dislikes having people too close
He is a picky eater and has acid reflux
He covers his ears during loud noises (vacuum, blender, hand dryers)
The solution for my son is the balancing act of trying to control the amount, intensity and duration of sensory input coming into his body. We practice sensory diet every day to help regulate his nervous system and be able to get a restful sleep. This is not an easy task for a child or a parent. Remember, sensory processing might be experienced in children in different ways. One or more of the senses can be affected, and one may be affected more than another. It depends on how that particular child’s brain is processing information. It is vital to get a correct diagnosis because the treatments can be very different for all of these disorders.
In my next post, I will share a healthy recipe that helps my child to sleep.