Proprioception/Balance Functions

The Proprioception system is your balance and spatial awareness senses and function. It is responsible for the position of one’s self in relation to movement and gravity, but it affects much more than that. The brain receives input from several sensory areas including visual, auditory, muscles and joints to determine where you are in relation to gravity, and the objects around you.  It contributes to balance, posture, coordination, walking gait and movement around and between objects without bumping into them.

 

However, if the Proprioception function is lacking, it can contribute to Learning Disorders, Behavioral Disorders, Autism, Autism Spectrum Disorders and Sensory Disorders. These children may walk funny or be a little clumsy. However, with most children, it will cause problems while going unnoticed until tested and strengthened through exercises below.

The core muscles (stomach, back, and side torso muscles) play a very important role in stimulating this function of the brain. Therefore, strengthening core muscles and oxygen-increasing exercises greatly contribute to overcoming Disabilities and Disorders.

Cute little girl in pink dress playing in blooming spring park with first white wild anemone flowers. Child on Easter egg hunt in blooming garden. Kids play outdoor picking flower bouquet.

Testing their Balance

Be sure to stay close to your child during these tests to catch them if they lose their balance. Again, these tests are also very closely related to the exercises to strengthen their sense of balance.

Tight Rope (Test 1):

Put a strip of tape on the floor. Ask the child to stand on the tape with feet lined “toe to heel” or the daddy toe of one foot touching the heel of the other foot. Both heels and toes should be aligned on the tape. If they can balance this way for 30 seconds with their eyes open then ask them to close their eyes and see if they can do it with their eyes closed for 30 seconds.

They should be able to do it with eyes open or closed. If not, exercises are needed.

As you do the test, observe which way they lean and tip to the most. As they do,  help them regain balance each time so you can observe them for about 30 seconds to see what side they lean towards the most.

Rhomberg (Test 2):

Have the child stand facing you with ankles together and hands on hips. Ask them to close their eyes. If they lose balance, catch them and help them regain balance each time so you can observe them for about 30 seconds to see what side they lean on the most.

  • No falls= Exercise not needed.
  • Falls or leans equally in both directions= Exercise needed
  • Mostly falls or leans towards their right = Left hemisphere weakness – Exercise needed
  • Mostly falls or leans towards their left = Right hemisphere weakness – Exercise needed

Symptoms

  • Strange Gate
  • Clumsiness
  • Poor Balance
  • Immature picture drawing after age 5(stick figures)
  • Poor Reading Skills
  • Poor Math Skills
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Dyslexia
  • Dysgraphia
  • Dyscalculia
  • ADHD
  • ADD
  • Sensory Processing Disorders
  • Uncoordinated Movement
  • Dropping items a lot
  • Gripping pencil too hard
  • Wants to be held more as an older child