Could It Be Mild Proprioceptive Deficit Disorder?

Hello! I was so relieved after coming across your website. I think my 30 yr old brother is suffering from mild PDD, although none of his doctors have said so. He has difficulties in changing direction when he is in certain positions, sitting down, dressing up, putting his shoes on.

It all started (according to him) in adolescence. He felt tingling sensations in his joints & muscles. He has undergone psychotherapy & hypnosis (since his doctors think it's all in his mind. His psychiatrist told him that it's an anxiety disorder but I think it's a proprioceptive problem which has in turn given rise to anxiety.

My question is "Can adolescence,i.e,growing up (change in height, weight, muscle mass etc.) cause proprioceptive impairment in certain individuals and what can be done, at this stage, to help him?

My brother is currently not undergoing any treatment. He got fed up & frustrated with psychotherapy. He's been having a go at yoga for the last few months. It could be that my parents did not notice anything when he was a child since it was very mild but I do remember as kids,he had difficulties putting on his trousers & taking them off.

He has difficulty with motor planning especially with his legs. He often complains about intense gravitational pull under his feet. I often see him touching & grabbing his legs (as if to see if they are there).

We are all very worried about him. My parents are not always going to be there to help him on bad days. Looking forward to hearing from you.


"True" Proprioceptive Deficit Disorder is a largely still misunderstood extreme and rare form of Proprioceptive awareness, as described by Dr. Oliver Sacks with the first recorded case of Christina, in 1977. As you used specifically this term I understand your concern and distress with there still being no definitive treatment protocol, or positive outcome expected. This extreme and totally debilitating form of PDD classically exhibits with the onset of vivid dreams prior to an abrupt onset of severe symptoms and may also be linked to overdoses of Vitamin B6, is seen only in the Northern Hemisphere and seems to primarily affect well educated individuals. (?!)

However, in answer to your questions, yes, there can be factors that could cause an onset during adolescence, especially as you may recall him having motor planning, possibly sequencing deficits and mild proprioception issues as a child. Since this condition is a neurologically based sensory response, it is possible your
brother had a mild form of SPD as a child. In the absence of any better forms of treatment available, Sensory Integrative Occupational Therapy would, I believe, possibly be the best course of treatment for him. The work we are already doing with children and adults with severe proprioceptive deficits makes this option
promising, maybe more so than any other form of treatment of which I am aware. i.e. psychotherapy.

I think it could be enlightening to print off and complete both the SPD Child Checklist and the Adult SPD Checklist Michele has on this site, and carefully fill these out with your brother, to see if he remembers any of these other symptoms as a child, and what he is experiencing today.

Interesting that he chose yoga as a form of self help, as I think that would be very beneficial to him, physically, neurologically and emotionally. Good choice! This, to me is a case of: Sensory
Integrative OT, can't hurt, and could possible help dramatically.

I did read of a patient who went this route and did see great improvements. Since you feel this may be PDD in a mild form, which is not classically seen (a mild form of an extreme condition such as PDD)... I would think there would be a reasonable expectation of improvement in SI-OT. On this web site also, you will find
resources to help you locate Providers in your area.

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