What is a proprioceptive system?
Proprioceptive receptors are located in muscles, tendons, joints and ligaments. They read information related to muscle compression, muscle stretching, bending and straightening of joints, body alignment, body movement.
The proprioceptive system allows the child to control his or her body position and movement. The child can plan and execute planned movements smoothly and coordinated. Thanks to the proprioceptive system, it is possible to select the appropriate pressure (e.g. to pet the dog, to draw with crayons), as well as the appropriate muscle tone (e.g. to raise the cup with juice).
Symptoms of dysfunction of the proprioceptive system
A child whose proprioception system does not feel muscles and joints good enough is unable to judge in what position the body is, the child behaves in quite a characteristic manner, including:
A) for pressure problems:
- he/she is loud, runs, collides deliberately with other people or objects,
- enjoys the fun of marking the fight,
- too tight, touches, strokes,
- heavy steps when walking,
- likes to jump from furniture and other objects or jump on the trampoline,
- waving legs while sitting, kicking or legs of the chair,
breaks or spoils various objects,
- inserts into the mouth and chews on various objects, such as a pen, eraser, toys, parts of clothing (sleeves),
- grinding teeth,
- self hurts,
- likes tight clothes, mostly prefers suits,
- very tightly laces shoes, ties clothes,
- looking for a hug (e.g. under the covers, pressed between furniture, etc.)
B) in the absence of planning and execution of planned mobility:
- has difficulty learning to ride a bike,
- cannot climb, jump, play with the ball (catch, throw), run,
- she/he has problems with the movements of dressing or putting on shoes,
- accidentally falls into various objects and persons,
- afraid to climb up and down the stairs,
- stumbles upon walk,
C) in case of instability:
- „stares“ at the table,
- prop their head, put it on the table top or desk,
- takes a bad attitude when performing certain activities,
- not able to balance the body, whether to stand on one leg,
D) problems with the selection of force and movement range:
- cannot judge how much movement is needed to perform a particular activity,
- too much pressure on the paper crayon or pen, breaking or damaging it,
- writes indistinctly and writes a note in a notebook,
- holding two items, cannot determine which one is heavier,
- badly assesses the weight of the item (which leads to dropping or, for example, pouring drinks from a glass, etc.)
- uses a lot of force for activities that do not require it (e.g. closing the book or door),
- They are not delicate in playing with other people or animals (too much pressure on them, strokes, pushes, etc.).
Dysfunction of the proprioceptive system – a challenge for the child and parents
When a child behaves clumsy every day, loud, painful and destroys various objects, parents are often frustrated. Their most difficult but important task is to understand that the child is a victim of this disorder. They become aware of it every time that they are different from their peers. When he/she meets with constant attention, misunderstanding, and even ostracism, his/her sense of worth falls to zero. This way, you cannot get out of trouble.
It is very important to undertake sensory integration therapy. Through regular work and exercise, it is possible to achieve such skills rather than in adult life, they can handle it as well as other well-functioning people.