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The proprioceptive system refers to components of muscles, joints, and tendons that provide a person with a subconscious awareness of body position.

When proprioception is functioning efficiently, an individual’s body position is automatically adjusted in different situations; for example, the proprioceptive system is responsible for providing the body with the necessary signals to allow us to sit properly in a chair and to step off a curb smoothly. It also allows us to manipulate objects using fine motor movements, such as writing with a pencil, using a spoon to drink soup, and buttoning one’s shirt. Some children can have a difficult time registering proprioceptive information and they may excessively seek it out.

Possible Signs of Proprioceptive processing deficits:

A tendency to fall
Minimal crawling when young or difficulty crawling
Difficulty manipulating small objects (buttons, snaps),
Eating in a sloppy manner
Resistance to new motor movement activities
Constantly jumping, crashing, and stomping
Loves to be squished and get “bear hugs”
Prefers tight clothing, loves rough-housing, may be aggressive with other children
Bumps into things often
Moves in a stiff and/or uncoordinated way
Doesn’t know how hard to push on an object
Misjudges the weight of an object
Breaks objects often
Rips paper when erasing pencil marks
May tire easily