What is Proprioception?

 

What does Proprioception mean and how is it used?

Perception or awareness of the position and movement of the body.
— Oxford Dictionary
Proprioception icon

Proprioception or the movement sense, as we like to think of it is all about moving our bodies and knowing where it is in relation to itself and other things.

For example, you know when you get an itch on your leg and you bend down to scratch it without looking at your leg or hand, that is your body working out how far to reach and locate the exact spot that needs to be scratched.

Or you manoeuvre through a space without bumping into things, your Proprioception sense determines your orientation, how fast you are moving, the direction you are going and with the use of your vision helps you to navigate around the space safely. 

Proprioception is essential in everyday movements. This is something that needs to be developed over time and practising hand eye coordination activities is considered a proprioception exercise that can help develop the sense in young children.

How to work on your child’s proprioception

Actions like rolling arms, pushing, pulling, lifting, hopping and rolling are all great ways to practise gross motor skills. Pinching (with crabby hands) , holding items like maracas are great ways to practise fine motor skills.

Here’s the techy bit:

There are Sensory receptors that are located in the inner ear, muscles, tendons, and joints which detect changes in the position or movement of the body, they are called Proprioceptors. These receptors continuously send information to our brains.

Little girl in pink apron eating baked beans with her hands

Young children can be clumsy and uncoordinated. In some cases this could mean a Sensory Processing Disorder, accessing Sensory Play can help to develop this.

Conclusion:

If you have concerns that your child may have proprioception issues please seek help from a medical professional.