Heavy Work Activities (Proprioceptive Input)

Yesterday I talked about how Brushing Therapy can be used as a calming effect. ‘J’s’ Occupational Therapist and I have also discussed implementing some heavy work activities. She gave me a print out with some background information on how this may help:

Propriocepive input is the performance of tasks that involves heavy resistance and input to the muscles and joints. It is essential in helping our bodies integrate and process both movement (vestibular) and touch (tactile) information. Proprioception is a form of sensory input to the muscles and joints which makes us aware of our “position in space” (where we are in relation to other objects or people). Children to have difficulty grading and planning their movements and regulating their level of arousal.” 

Heavy work activities include:

  • Whole body actions involving pushing, pulling, lifting ,playing and moving
  • Oral actions such as chewing sucking and blowing
  • Use of hands for squeezing, pinching or “fidgeting”

The resistive input obtained through heavy work activities is generally organizing and can improve attention, arousal level, body awareness and muscle tone, as well as descrease defensiveness. 

The activities are broken up into the categories of: carrying objects, pushing or pulling objects, jumping and bouncing, climbing/hanging, sandwich/squishing, working on a vertical surface, resistive tools or toys, chewy foods, resistive sucking and blowing activities.

We’re not on any sort of schedule with these activities and most of them are already in his daily routine while he’s playing. We got a trampoline last year and he’s been obsessed with it ever since. If he can’t go jump on that, he is just fine jumping on the floor. He loves playing on his easel and writing with chalk. And lucky for us, he offers to help bring in groceries! Of course he can’t hold the bags that are too heavy.

I’ll definitely try some others on the list that we haven’t already to see how he responds. Like I’ve said before, a lot of this is trial and error and I’m willing to go through it all if it means helping him get through his daily activities.

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