When our families start in a clinical setting, they often ask us about home programs. We tell our families to be patient because we’re getting to know your child. We don’t want to prescribe a home program until we do know the specific needs of your child, and that can take 4, 6, even 8 weeks. However, a lot of our families are in crisis when they come in, and so I always say, “When in doubt, use proprioception!”
Now you’re saying to me, “Kate, what is proprioception?”
Proprioception defined is basically heavy work! Heavy work tends to calm our nervous systems down for about two hours after doing the work. And by “work,” I just mean good physical activity. For instance, hopping on a Hippity-Hop ball is one form of heavy work. If you have a child follow you on a Hippity-Hop ball for 500 feet, believe me, that kid is going to be calmed down!
Another form of proprioception could be running items up and down your stairs. Many of us have stairs. Just load things at the bottom of the stairs and have the kids run them up and down.
Pushing/pulling and weight
When you’re out in the community proprioception could be pushing the grocery cart. So when you’re at the grocery store, have your child push the grocery cart.
A lot of our kids wear backpacks, or they’ll wear weighted lap pads or weighted blankets. That heavy weight tends to be calming. You can even roll a kid in a blanket like a sausage or a hot dog.
I sometimes have my kids push and pull me—that’s another form of heavy work! You’re only limited by your lack of creativity! Dads like to wrestle with their kids, and that’s a great way to do heavy work! The only caution I have is that it works better if the parent’s weight is on the child, but the parent isn’t resisting. If the parent is resisting that can be interpreted as frightening, so just be careful.
Those are some basic ideas. If you want specifics give us time to let us get to know your kiddo, and we’ll be more than happy to design you a home program. We can even train you to do it in your home! Please call us if you would like to schedule an in-home appointment.
Dallas area: 469-675-3153
Houston area: 281-769-1015