Thursday, July 26, 2012

Therapy Thursday: SPD Proprioception

Each week I post about some type of therapy we use, who recommended it, and the reason we are using it.  Remember, I am not a licensed therapist and I am sharing our experiences.  We would love to hear your stories too! Please leave a comment below.

Sensory Processing Disorder: Proprioception

Do you have a child who is clumsy, uncoordinated, invading others' space, bumping into people and/or objects, too loud, walks too hard, chews on everything, constantly jumping, and likes tight squeezes? You know the ones people comment about, "He's ALL boy."  (I hope it's not just me).  Well, your child may suffer from proprioceptive dysfunction, one subtype of sensory processing disorder.  

"Proprioception is the internal sense that tells you where your body parts are without you having to look at them.  The internal body awareness relies on receptors in your joints, muscles, ligaments, and connective tissue." - Raising a Sensory Smart Child

Here is the Proprioceptive portion of the complete sensory processing disorder checklist found on

 Signs Of Proprioceptive Dysfunction:

1. Sensory Seeking Behaviors:

__ seeks out jumping, bumping, and crashing activities

__ stomps feet when walking

__ kicks his/her feet on floor or chair while sitting at desk/table

__ bites or sucks on fingers and/or frequently cracks his/her knuckles

__ loves to be tightly wrapped in many or weighted blankets, especially at bedtime

__ prefers clothes (and belts, hoods, shoelaces) to be as tight as possible

__ loves/seeks out "squishing" activities

__ enjoys bear hugs
__ excessive banging on/with toys and objects

__ loves "roughhousing" and tackling/wrestling games

__ frequently falls on floor intentionally

__ would jump on a trampoline for hours on end

__ grinds his/her teeth throughout the day

__ loves pushing/pulling/dragging objects

__ loves jumping off furniture or from high places

__ frequently hits, bumps or pushes other children

__ chews on pens, straws, shirt sleeves etc.

2. Difficulty With "Grading Of Movement":

__ misjudges how much to flex and extend muscles during tasks/activities (i.e., putting arms into sleeves or climbing)

__ difficulty regulating pressure when writing/drawing; may be too light to see or so hard the tip of writing utensil breaks

__ written work is messy and he/she often rips the paper when erasing

__ always seems to be breaking objects and toys

__ misjudges the weight of an object, such as a glass of juice, picking it up with too much force sending it flying or spilling, or with too little force and complaining about objects being too heavy

__ may not understand the idea of "heavy" or "light"; would not be able to hold two objects and tell you which weighs more

__ seems to do everything with too much force; i.e., walking, slamming doors, pressing things too hard, slamming objects down

__ plays with animals with too much force, often hurting them 

I think my child may have Sensory Processing Disorder, now what?  The Ultimate Guide to Sensory Processing Disorder by Roya Ostavar, Ph.D. has a ton of great information, including Chapter 5: Assessment, Diagnosis, and Treatment - Where to Begin.  She also includes a very thorough (20 pages worth) sample Developmental History Form.  

Then obtain a referral to an Occupational Therapist.  All three of our boys have been treated by an OT at one time or another.  Currently our two youngest sons are receiving treatment 1-2 times a month.  They give us many great ideas of therapies activities to do at home.  For more ideas, the Out-of-Sync Child Has Fun by Carol Stock Kranowitz, M.A. has tons of activities for kids with sensory processing disorder.

A few of our family favorite activities are:

Take a large plastic container similar to this one (needs to be big enough for child to climb into) and fill it with pinto beans (we purchased at Costco).  Add plastic bowls, cups and shovels for scooping.  You can also add some wiggly creatures for your child to find (if it won't scare your child too much).  
 Newell Rubbermaid Home 31 Gallon Blue Roughneck Tote 2244CPDIM
Stretchy bag (aka body sock or body pod)

Bod Pod
Photo from Amazon

Bean bags.  If you have more than one, you can make a bean bag sandwich with your child in the middle, applying a small amount of pressure (depending on the size of your child). 

Sleeping Bag Stair Slide.  The kids get inside a sleeping bag (preferably one with a slick outside) and slide down the stairs.  You should have heard the laughter with this one!

 Lie down under the weighted blanket.  Or wrap up in it like a burrito.  We were fortunate enough to win our weighted blanket from DreamCatcher.  It is a full-size, 12 pound blanket made with a cotton material so that it does not get too hot.  As you can see, even the teenagers like it.

Does your child have sensory processing disorder?  What are your family favorite activities for "heavy work"?


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