All children, especially those with sensory differences can benefit from proprioceptive input to support the development of their body awareness and motor skills. Doing heavy work activities or providing deep pressure to the muscles and joints is what we call proprioceptive input. Any activity that involves pulling, pushing, lifting, carrying, crawling, jumping, hanging, wrestling and crashing is considered as heavy work. Deep pressure on the other hand can be provided by massage, weighted blankets, bear hugs, weighted vests or using the brushing protocol.
Certain amounts and types of input and activity are required to keep our nervous system alert, functional and regulated. Some children may be bothered by seams in their socks, tags on their clothes, hair or nail cutting, and/or are constantly fidgeting.
Other children may appear withdrawn, avoidant of tasks, and/or have low energy. Ironically heavy work activities can be both calming and alerting and support both types of children based on their individual needs.
Proprioceptive input through heavy work or deep pressure can increase our body awareness. It also helps us to attend to what is important with an appropriate level of arousal, for example, to be able to play a game or to sit in class. Heavy work activities that are completed for approximately 20-30 minutes can last up to two hours, which in turn supports regulation. However, remember just like we need meals and snacks throughout the day, so too, we need heavy work/ deep pressure activities.
Some examples of heavy work or deep pressure activities include:
…………Use your imagination… the activities are endless!