Many of our kids have issues with proprioception, a word I had never heard of until about a year ago. I never understood why Case liked to push furniture around. He started that practice as soon as he could walk, pushing pool chairs, folding chairs, anything that would move. Soon after, he started climbing all the furniture, climbing cabinets, jumping off of them. Of course, as a parent, you tell them to stop, give them a timeout.
But soon after, another MPS mom mentioned proprioception problems and Case’s therapists mentioned weighted vests and blankets (those will be the subject of another post). I googled proprioception and after I started reading, my mouth fell open. It described Case to a T!
The proprioceptive sense refers to the sensory input and feedback that tells us about movement and body position. It’s “receptors” are located within our muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons, and connective tissues. It is one of the “deep senses” and could be considered the “position sense.” [taken from The Sensory Processing Disorder website]
The Sensory Processing Disorder website has a good description of what proprioception dysfunction is and how to recognize it. Suffice it to say, once I began talking with some other parents, it became apparent that a lot of our kids suffer from this problem. However, I have never seen it in any MPS literature.
Once recognized, the question is then what to do about it. There are traditional weighted items and then there are items you can make yourself. Case’s proprioception dysfunction was intense enough that we went both routes.
The most successful do-it-yourself items we created or modified were the weighted car, grocery cart, and backpack.
Case already had a Cozy Coupe and like many MPS kiddos, he drove it around like crazy. We modified it after the fact but it is a little easier if doing it on a new one.
We originally purchased this backpack as a harness with a strap to keep Case from running away from us. If you know MPS children, you know that is quite difficult. I would not depend on any strap with a plastic clip to keep him from danger, so we used this in a controlled environment to keep him close and to practice his walking instead of running everywhere.
After we purchased it, I had the idea to weight it to add to its benefits and it really did help. Case would slow down and walk more calmly with the weight in than without it.
I hope these ideas are helpful. Basically, you can weight almost any toy that your child uses, especially with being able to funnel the small poly pellets into plastic toys. If they push, pull or carry it, think about whether it would be helpful to add a little more resistance. Caveats are:
If you have any other ideas or have weighted other toys, please comment! Good luck!