You’ve heard of the main 5 senses: touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing. But what about the other three senses?
Many kids can feel overwhelmed by the amount of sensory stimulation throughout the day, this can result in a kid not being able to focus or appearing to be out of control.
In OT we specialize in how proprioceptive input can help a child regulate their nervous system throughout the day.
Our brains get proprioceptive input when we push-on or pull-on things and provide pressure to muscles and joints. Some activities to do through the day to regulate their nervous system are:
– Bouncing on a trampoline or exercise ball
– Animal walks
– Pushing or pulling a full laundry basket down a hall
– Deep pressure
– Log rolls
– Blowing bubbles
– Playing on monkey bars
– Carrying books
– Kicking a ball
Interoception is the eighth sense of the body which allows us to ‘feel’ or sense the inside of our bodies.
Interoception can help determine if an individual is hungry, needs to go to the bathroom, or if they are tired. It also allows an individual to recognize physiological changes such as their heart beating faster, they are breathing faster, or if they become hot or cold.
Interoception allows an individual to understand what their body is feeling and make changes if needed.For example, if their heart starts racing they can connect this to feeling anxious or nervous. It also helps us make appropriate reactions based on the information being processed in our bodies. For example, if someone is feeling thirsty they will know to get a drink. If someone is cold they will know to get a jacket.
The vestibular sense contributes to our ability to maintain balance and body posture. Located next to the cochlea in the inner ear, vestibular organs are fluid-filled and have hair cells, similar to the ones found in the auditory system, which respond to movement of the head and gravitational forces. When these hair cells are stimulated, they send signals to the brain via the vestibular nerve.
If you’ve ever had an ear infection and felt dizzy, or if you were to experience vertigo and you might feel like your entire body was spinning in space and be unable to walk. This is because of the vestibular sense.
In addition to maintaining balance, the vestibular system collects information critical for controlling movement and the reflexes that move various parts of our bodies to compensate for changes in body position. It helps us maintain an upright posture and helps keep your head and neck muscles steady so your eyes can track an object or information in front of you. Activities like jumping, climbing, spinning, swinging, skateboarding, or riding a bike are all linked to developing your vestibular sense.
Looking to refine your child’s Gross Motor Skills and work on their ‘gravitational insecurity’?
Call (570) 992-6720 and ask about our Occupational Therapy Programs!