Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Another day, another disorder

In chatting with Quinn's post-surgery physical therapist yesterday, she mentioned something called proprioception and said he may have some challenges feeling where his body fits into the space around him, as in how to climb a ladder, how hard to push with a pencil, how rough to play with the dog (a current BIG issue in our house, as our poor new dog Rosie will tell you...).

I went home and Googled it and found a textbook description of my son as a sensory-seeking kid who is under-responsive to touch and movement. A few of the characteristics are off, but if you read the list below you'll pretty much know Quinn - it's astonishingly, eerily accurate.

I'm encouraged to know there might be a cause for his behavior besides cruelty to animals - which really didn't seem right to me because he LOVES Rosie but can't seem to help himself from being too rough with her. Still, it makes me nervous that I've never heard of this before. Is it real? Quackery? Something in between? If anyone knows about this or has any insights, I'd really appreciate hearing from you, either here or at

And if you haven't heard of this, either, here's what I learned in a quick Google search. First a general definition and then a definition of Quinn's apparent end of the beach along with those checklists that seem to be written just about him:

Proprioceptive dysfunction refers to a body’s inability to properly process sensory input related to proprioception. The sense of proprioception differs from the other senses of sight, smell, sound, taste, and touch by involving more internal sensory perception by which we receive the pain and movement of the internal organs(1).

Sensory Seeking children have nervous systems that do not always process that sensory input is "coming in" to the brain. They are under-responsive to sensation. As a result, they seek out more intense or longer duration sensory experiences. Some behaviors that can be observed are: Hyper-activity as they seek more and more movement input; Unawareness of touch or pain, or touching others too often or too hard (may seem aggressive); Engaging in unsafe behaviors, such as climbing too high; Enjoying sounds that are too loud, such as TV or radio volume.

If they are under responsive to proprioceptive input (i.e. sensory seeking) they will...

  • walk to hard, push too hard, bang too hard write too hard, play with objects too hard, etc.

  • be the loud ones, rough ones, crashers, movers, shakers, runners, jumpers, and bouncers (i.e. an insatiable bundle of energy!)

  • shake his legs or constantly bang the back of his foot on the floor/chair while sitting in class

  • play too rough (often hurting himself or others), jump off of or crash into ANYTHING he can

  • crack his knuckles, chew on his fingers, bite his nails until they bleed, chew on pens, gum, pencils, clothing collars, sleeves, or strings, or inedible objects (i.e. paper clips, pieces of toys etc.)

  • enjoys TIGHT clothes (i.e. turtlenecks, tight belts, hoods, hats, jackets zipped ALL the way up, tight pajamas etc.) (This is the ONLY item on this list that doesn't describe Quinn!)

  • Hyposensitivity To Touch (Under-Responsive):

    __ may crave touch, needs to touch everything and everyone

    __ is not aware of being touched/bumped unless done with extreme force or intensity

    __ is not bothered by injuries, like cuts and bruises, and shows no distress with shots (may even say they love getting shots!)

    __ may not be aware that hands or face are dirty or feel his/her nose running

    __ may be self-abusive; pinching, biting, or banging his own head

    __ mouths objects excessively

    __ frequently hurts other children or pets while playing

    __ repeatedly touches surfaces or objects that are soothing (i.e., blanket)

    __ seeks out surfaces and textures that provide strong tactile feedback

    __ thoroughly enjoys and seeks out messy play

    __ craves vibrating or strong sensory input

    __ has a preference and craving for excessively spicy, sweet, sour, or salty foods

    Hyposensitivity To Movement (Under-Responsive):

    __ in constant motion, can't seem to sit still

    __ craves fast, spinning, and/or intense movement experiences

    __ loves being tossed in the air

    __ could spin for hours and never appear to be dizzy

    __ loves the fast, intense, and/or scary rides at amusement parks

    __ always jumping on furniture, trampolines, spinning in a swivel chair, or getting into upside down positions

    __ loves to swing as high as possible and for long periods of time

    __ is a "thrill-seeker"; dangerous at times

    __ always running, jumping, hopping etc. instead of walking

    __ rocks body, shakes leg, or head while sitting

    __ likes sudden or quick movements, such as, going over a big bump in the car or on a bike

    1 comment:

    China Dreams said...


    Hopefully you're enjoying the books you got on this, and you're already feeling better both about the situation and with your ability to deal with it.