Health and Wellness

What the heck is proprioceptive input?

We hadn’t had OT concerns for Elijah until I noticed he responded to big hugs and squeezes when he was frustrated and agitated.  I started by just rubbing his feet when he was upset, and I could immediately feel his body relax. I started doing a little research.  I found something called proprioceptive input.  As I read about it, I felt like they were describing Elijah. It is basically the body’s inability to know where it is in space.  When we would give him a big hug it seemed to calm him and give him a sense of security.  I found several activities to do at home that could help his body by giving it some outside pressure and input.  We started by having him roll back and forth over a fitness ball, pushing his hands and feet off the ground while holding him for safety.  We also decided to purchase a weighted blanket.  It helps him tremendously at night when he’s trying to fall asleep.  When he doesn’t have it, he constantly moves his legs, but he relaxes when we put it on him.  I take it off after he falls asleep only because I think he gets too hot and would probably kick it off anyway.  We also purchased a compression shirt that he wears under his clothes.  It seems to really help throughout the day.  The last thing we found that has made a big difference is a grip stixx or what we call a “chewy”.  He was chewing on his shirt, stuffed animals, toys, anything he could find, so we decided to give him something safe that would give him the oral input he needs.  He really only uses it when he’s concentrating on something and sitting still.  It seems to keep him calmer and more focused. I’m obviously not a doctor or OT, but everything we’ve tried seems to help and they certainly don’t hurt.  I met with an OT at the clinic where he receives PT and he reaffirmed Elijah’s sensory needs and the approach we’re taking. I honestly think everyone has some sensory needs that could be helped with some small adjustments.  I know I do. It’s all about figuring out what works best and trying to make life a little easier.

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This is a site I found helpful…

Proprioceptive Input: Sensory Processing Explained

2 thoughts on “What the heck is proprioceptive input?

  1. Elijah loves his at bedtime. It calms him right down and if we don’t use it he wiggles and squirms. He likes the pressure it gives and if I ever forget to put it on him he asks for it 🙂 I really thought he would use it more during other times of the day but he doesn’t sit still long enough for it to really be effective. Bedtime is the perfect time. I hope it works for you!

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