Proprioceptive input is the performance of tasks that involves heavy resistance and input to the muscles and joints, and is essential in helping our bodies assimilate and process both movement (vestibular) and touch (tactile) information.
Heavy work activities include:
This resistive input obtained through heavy work activities is generally organizing and can improve attention, arousal level, body awareness and muscle tone, as well as decreasing defensiveness.
Proprioception is a form of sensory input to the muscles and joints which makes us aware of our "position in space" (i.e., where we are in relation to other objects or people). Children who have difficulty interpreting proprioceptive input have trouble grading and planning their movements and regulating their level of arousal.
You may see a child who accidentally breaks things often, appears clumsy and uncoordinated and may have an excessive need to crash and bump into objects, walls and people.
If they are seeking out excessive proprioceptive input, they are looking for a way to calm and organize their nervous system. They may seem disruptive, full of excessive energy, or even unsafe. These are the crashers, jumpers, movers, and shakers! These are the children we ABSOLUTELY want to target with heavy work activities. It WILL make a difference in them!
The following is an extensive list of heavy work activities/proprioceptive activities that may help regulate a child's arousal level, concentration, ability to fall asleep or sit still and attend to a task.
Keep in mind, the type of heavy work activities, timing and duration is most effective when directed by a professional (such as an Occupational Therapist) knowledgeable about this type of proprioceptive input.
It is also important to note which activities calm your child, arouse them, or over arouse them. This is very unique to each individual and must be observed and treated as such!
You want to choose activities THEY are interested in and that IMPROVE their state of arousal to its most functional point.
Gross Motor Activities
Carrying objects, such as...
Wearing wrist or ankle weights
Swimming with or without swim weights
Pushing or pulling objects and activities, such as...
Jumping and bouncing on/with items, such as...
Wheelbarrow walk relays
Potato sac/ jumping bag races
Lizard crawl (belly on floor, push self with elbows)
Climbing/hanging on things, such as...
Walking/running/playing in the sand
"Sandwich"/ Squishing activities...
Crabwalk (hands and feet on floor, belly up) games, such as...
Resistive tools or toys, such as...
Fidget or play with stretchy/squishy items, such as...
Resistive surfaces, such as...
Use weighted pens, pencils or utensils
Multi-person parachute games and activities
Cooking activities, such as...
Etch-a-Sketch with resistive knobs (shaking with both arms to clear screen)
Oral Motor Activities:
Resistive sucking using items such as...
Blowing activities, such as...
Childrens Playground Equipment - A comprehensive article on the benefits, and a great selection of, children's playground equipment. This includes; outdoor, indoor, wooden or plastic playground equipment, AND climbers or swing sets.
Oral Sensitivities - A great resource for the signs of oral sensitivities (hypersensitive or hyposensitive) as it relates to Sensory Processing Disorders, as well as great treatment ideas!
Proprioception And Proprioceptive Dysfunction - An in-depth article defining proprioceptive dysfunction; signs and symptoms to help you understand the REAL reason your child may not be able to learn new motor tasks or has a high energy level.
Sensory Room - extremely therapeutic for both children and adults with, or without, sensory processing/sensory integration disorders.
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