Saturday, November 14, 2009

I learned something that I already knew.

As children we learned about the 5 senses in school. You know, hearing, sight, smell, taste and touch.

Today, thanks to Sarah Bommarito of The Therapy Spot, I learned about 2 more senses: proprioceptive and vestibular. Of course, us moms really already know about these extra senses. It's instinct. But sometimes it is good to know there is a name for those things that you've been aware of but couldn't put a finger on.

Proprioceptive. Sensors located in the joints and tendons enable a person to know the location of each part of the body. The Romberg test is a test of proprioception performed by standing with feet together with eyes closed. Those with proprioceptive loss, or lack of development, will be able to stand still with eyes open but will sway or fall with their eyes closed because they are unable to keep their balance.

Pressure on the joints and tendons provides input to this sense. A newborn baby with arms and legs flailing is unsettled and in desperate need of proprioceptive input. This baby can be calmed by providing input in the way of swaddling. Moms have done this for ages! Some people find that they sleep better at night with a heavy blanket (providing input).

Vestibular. Sensors located in the inner ear facilitate awareness of the body's position in relation to its surroundings. In my mind, I simplify this sense as one of movement. As moms, we know that our babies are calmed by movement (vestibular input). Which of us has not done the "mommy sway" as we attempt to calm a baby in our arms? Oh, and keep that shopping cart moving, right?!

I encourage you to look into different ways to satisfy your child's need for sensory (all 7 senses!) input. If you are dealing with a child who has suffered sensory deprivation due to hospitalization or institutional care, seek assistance from a therapist trained in multiple sensory integration. 


therextras said...

Woohoo, Steph! GOOD stuff!


ps One more - kinesthetic - the feeling of movement of the body parts; very close to proprioceptive.

Stephanie @ Ralphcrew said...

Yes, I read a bit about kinesthetic when I was trying to satisfy my curiosity.

I wish I had been more curious about this stuff when my teens were little. I can think of many ways that I could have enhanced their learning experiences through sensory integration. This stuff is great!

therextras said...

One time I tried to convince a preschool teacher to include the other 3 senses - showing the books I told you about. No.go.

Came back to share this:

Waneta said...

Hey, now you're talking my language! Well said!