SPD Information Symptoms Impact on the Senses

Impact on the Senses

The Proprioceptive (Muscle and Joint) Sense

Overview of the Proprioceptive Sense

As one of the 'near' senses, proprioception is the sense responsible for letting us know when and how far we stretch our muscles. Otherwise known as the kinesthetic sense, it is our internal gauge responsible for telling us where our body is in space. For a person with a well organized proprioceptive sense, this process is automatic, and is rarely even thought of. When they see an object in front of them, especially one they have held before, they will know almost exactly how much force to use in order to lift, hold, or move that object. If their first guess is ever wrong, they can usually correct it immediately. Because they are able to correctly judge how much effort to apply when handling objects and moving and positioning their bodies, they will not have to put a ton of effort into learning new motor activities and correcting their posture.

When well regulated, the proprioceptive sense will enable a person to thrive in physical activity. They will be far more willing to participate in activities that require movement, and will not have a hard time keeping their posture together. They will not be horribly floppy, nor will they constantly seek out ways of giving themselves deep pressure. They won't frequently bump or crash into things or throw themselves down onto furniture.

Proprioceptive Defensiveness

The proprioceptive defensive will usually not be the most physically active people. Distressed by the mere movement of their muscles and limbs, they will have a hard time with sports and will often have difficulty with even more mundane tasks, such as dressing or going up and down stairs. They may also be agitated by having their body parts moved, as when riding in a vehicle or being moved. They may also try to avoid deep pressure, such as from a hug, and might be overly aware of the slightest issue in their body position.

Proprioceptive Under-Responsiveness

When a person is under-responsive to proprioceptive input, they will usually have very poor body awareness. They will have a fairly 'floppy' composure, and often will have weak posture. They might not now when their posture is even off, as they are unable to sense the position of their own limbs. At risk of frequently breaking things, they may also have a lack of confidence when handling utensils. They may also lock their elbows into their sides or the table when writing or wrap their legs around chair legs to get proprioceptive input.

Proprioceptive Seeking

Proprioceptive seekers are in constant search of deep pressure. Bumping, crashing, and throwing themselves onto furniture, they look for any opportunity they can get to squeeze themselves. They may have even gained a reputation for their rough housing or wrestling, as they are chronically looking for the kinesthetic input they need to focus and thrive. They may also crack their knuckles, stretch their muscles, and keep all their clothes tight.

Proprioceptive Discrimination Disorder

People with proprioceptive discrimination problems will have difficulty planning their movements and configuring their body to follow through with the plans they do form. They'll have a hard time maneuvering around things that are obstructing their paths and walking on uneven ground, such as bumpy sidewalks, stairs, and rough terrain. They may have a tendency to trip, as they can't easily figure out how to work their legs. For those with typical proprioceptive abilities, many of these issues would probably be foreign to them, but for those who have proprioceptive issues, they can be some of the hardest and most frustrating to live with.