Proprioception (body awareness)

Proprioception is a sense tells us where our bodies are in relation to other objects and in open spaces, and also how our different body parts are moving. We get messages (feedback) from our muscles and joints telling our brain where we are. They regulate movement and posture and also the appropriate pressure for tasks, such as cracking open an egg without crushing it. Some people on the autism spectrum may experience varying differences related to this sense.

Over sensitive

This person might have difficulty understanding where their body is in relation to other objects, thus appearing clumsy, knocking things over, dropping items or misjudging personal space and thus standing too close to others. People with this over-sensitivity may also have difficulty in regulating pressure so may break items or struggle with writing because the pressure they use on a pen can be so heavy that they rip the paper. Some people even say it affects their sense of self and who they are as a person.

Under responsive

Seeking out more sensory input by banging objects, jumping about, stomping when walking, bumping into people or biting or sucking on fingers. Deep pressure such as tight bear hugs, tight clothing or weighted items such as heavy blankets or bags may be enjoyed.

TIPS TO REDUCE ANXIETYPerhaps trial a weighted backpack if someone needs extra sensory feedback when out walking. Occupational therapists can advise on a wide range of suitable sensory equipment.

Discover more about the senses… click on the images or download our leaflet