Proprioception is the process by which the body can vary muscle contraction in immediate response to incoming information regarding external forces, by utilizing stretch receptors in the muscles to keep track of the joint position in the body. So this is the system that allows you to hold an egg in your hand with the right pressure without cracking it, for example.
A Child with Proprioceptive Dysfunction may demonstrate some of the following characteristics or behaviors:
- The child runs and crashes into objects without registering pain to the point where you may think "that looks like it hurt" - poor body awareness
- The child who has a tired hand after 5 minutes of handwriting and seems to be pressing down really hard on his pencil- poor awareness of pressure
- The child who slips like butter into any supportive surface (your lap, the table or chair) – poor postural activation
- The child who has difficulty carrying out fluent movement patterns that other children his age can do with ease- poor motor planning
- The child who pushes other team members excessively hard, but may not intend to or realize it- poor awareness of pressure
The vestibular system is the apparatus of the inner ear involved in balance. It consists of two structures of the bony labyrinth, the vestibule and the semicircular canals, and the structures of the membranous labyrinth contained within them.
The Over Responsive or Hypersensitive Child may demonstrate characteristics such as:
1. Showing an intolerance to movement:
- Dislikes playground activities such as swinging, spinning, and sliding.
- Is cautious, slow moving, and prefers sedentary play.
- Has difficulties taking risks or trying new things.
- Is uncomfortable in the car, elevators, and escalators and may become motion sick rather easily.
- Seems clingy and demands physical support from a trusted figure.
- Has an outstanding fear of falling, even if no real danger exists.
- Is fearful of heights or raised surfaces.
- Avoids curbs, stairs, or movements when his/her feet leave the ground.
- Has difficulties when head is tilted in various directions.
- Can have poor visual discrimination.
1. Showing little response to movement:
- Does not seem to notice when they are being moved.
- Does not register movement effectively enough to decipher when they are dizzy.
- May not notice when they are falling; which can result in decreased protective responses.
- Needs constant movement in order to effectively function.
- Has difficulties remaining seated or staying still.
- Craves excessive movement such as bouncing on furniture, assuming upside down positions, or rocking.
1. Poor postural control
- Easily loses balance.
- May be a clumsy child.
- May have a loose, floppy body.
- Is limp, constantly leaning, slumping and/or has difficulties sitting in a chair.
- Has difficulties with conceptualizing, organizing, and carrying out movement.
- Has a hard time generalizing previous learned knowledge.
- Gets easily frustrated and gives up quickly.
- Is reluctant to try new activities.
- Has a low tolerance to potentially stressful situations.
- Has a low self esteem.
- Is irritable in other’s company and avoids/withdraws from people.
- Has difficulties making friends and relating to peers.
As you can see, a disturbance in either one of these systems greatly affects the output a child is capable of and is also quite important when talking about the 7 senses of our bodies.