Our Hidden Senses: Part 1

Processing and responding to sensory information is crucial to attend and regulate in the World around us. Commonly, everybody is familiar with the five senses; touch, taste, smell, hearing and sight. At Learn Sense Grow we believe there are 3 extra, hidden senses that are just as important!

These are:

  • Proprioception

  • Vestibulation

  • Interoception

We will start with PROPRIOCEPTION!

Ever wondered why your child or student pushes too hard on their pencil? Why they are clumsy and constantly dropping things? Or why a child seems to bump into objects and people frequently?

It could be that the child is experiencing proprioceptive dysfunction! Information from the muscles and joints is called proprioception. Proprioception is our ability to know where our body is within space, and move it according to the surrounding objects. Proprioceptive activities can be passive, where deep pressure is given to the child, or active, where the child actively takes part in a heavy work activity.

How does it impact children?

If a child experiences proprioceptive dysfunction, they may:

  • Have trouble understanding and identifying boundaries in play and when interacting with others.

  • Play too rough with peers.

  • Appear to constantly seek out sensations, as this gives their body awareness of where it is in space.

  • Have difficulty completing complex motor movements, such as riding a bike, throwing and catching.

  • Have limited strength and muscle control, particularly when sitting at their desk, and they may need to rest their head on their desk, slump or use nearby furniture to help maintain their posture.

How can it be regulated through Occupational Therapy?

  • There is evidence that our proprioceptive sense can be changed and improved using sensory integration therapies.

  • Any movements that place impact on muscles and joints will help improve a child’s proprioceptive sense.

  • These movements include; monkey bars, frog jumps, wheelbarrow walks and tight hugs.

  • A Sensory Diet can be developed with these movements in collaboration with your Occupational Therapist.

The benefits of working on proprioception:

  • The child will be more aware of where their body is in space, making it easier to engage in age appropriate activities and play with their peers.

  • Their strength, endurance and coordination will develop.

  • A child’s body engine will be more calm and regulated throughout the day.

Speak to your Occupational Therapist today about how you can incorporate proprioceptive sensations into your child’s routine today!