Parents at Oakwood Academy will often hear their teachers/therapists talk about a very important sense – proprioception. Like our other five senses, this sense plays an important part in how we receive information about our environment. As a result, this system plays a large role in the regulation of students.
Proprioception is the body’s ability to sense where it is in space. This means the body’s muscles, joints, and ligaments send information through the nervous system to the brain so that even without sight, the body is aware of where it is in space. Proprioception plays an important role in self-regulation, body awareness, coordination, posture, and the ability to attend and focus on a task. When our body is not able to process proprioceptive information correctly, challenges in the above-mentioned areas can occur.
At Oakwood, students will often engage in activities that provide them with proprioceptive input, thus allowing them to stay more regulated throughout their day. Some of the activities students participate in include:
- Heavy work (stacking chairs, pushing or pulling heavy objects, carrying a backpack with extra books in it)
- Receiving passive proprioceptive input, e.g. deep pressure squeezes
- Eating crunchy or chewy snacks
- Activating the muscles and joints through weight-bearing activities (bear walks, wall push-ups, crab walks, etc.)
These types of activities help calm and organize students so that they can navigate their day, calm and regulated. All activities are done under the guidance of Oakwood’s Occupational Therapist. Proprioceptive activities are easy to implement at home and require minimal equipment.