The Two Other Senses

For this, you will need to trust me a bit. Unless you are in a weird place right now and can’t do this….please stand up and then close your eyes. Reach your right arm out to the right of your body, like airplane arms. Put out your right index finger and then, with eyes still closed, bring your right finger in toward your nose and touch your finger to your nose. Put your finger and arm down again, eyes still closed, and repeat it all with the left side. Now, open your eyes and sit back down.

Without your proprioceptive system working properly, you wouldn’t have been able to do that successfully; you wouldn’t know where different parts of your body are without looking. This system is responsible for helping you move through space and move your body effectively.  It’s an important sense!

Often children from hard places have deficits in this sense which can make it hard for them to stay regulated.

Research says that 15 minutes of proprioceptive activities can regulate for 1-2 hours! By adding some of these activities into your child’s day, this can increase their ability to regulate. Our body receives information for this sense through our muscles and joints.

Vestibular Input coordinates movements of the eyes, head, and body which affects our body’s balance, muscle tone, visual-spatial perception, auditory-language perception, and emotional security. The vestibular system helps us understand where our head and body are in space.

Vestibular is all about balance and movement. All children require this movement and input for proper development.

Some vestibular activities are:

  • Swinging
  • Linear movements
  • Vertical movements
  • Upside down movements
  • Horizontal movements
  • Challenges to balance
  • Inverted head
  • Starts and stops in motion (game of freeze)
  • Changes in direction
  • Changes in speed

When thinking of activities to strengthen your child’s brain, and therefore decrease their frequency, duration, or intensity of meltdowns, look for the following 6 “R’s” from Dr. Perry’s work.  Relational – these are experiences that happen inside, safe, connected, and attuned relationship. For example, instead of putting a child on a rocking chair, we rock with them. Relevant means developmentally-matched to the individual . Repetitive is patterned – happening over and over again. Rewarding means the activity is pleasurable. Rhythmic has a beat to it. Respectful (of the child, family, and culture.)

If you believe that your child has some sensory differences, please consult an expert in the field, rather than just try hit or miss on adding these activities. For the most part, anything that adds proprioception input is very regulating, but you do need to be more careful with the vestibular activities so as not to accidentally get your child overly stimulated and therefore dysregulated.  This website is a wealth of information:

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