Senses: Proprioception and Vestibular


Estimated reading time: 4 minutes


The contents in this post is for information purposes, and is based on personal experience. Always seek professional advice from health care providers in regards to a person’s health care.


Proprioception is one of our senses awareness of our body in connection to our environment.

My son appears heavy-handed and footed, finding it difficult to judge what force to use when walking, writing and eating. Likewise, he can also, at times appear “clumsy”. Furthermore, he presses down too hard while writing and cutting up his food, which puts a strain on his upper body.

Weighted Cutlery.

I have a set of weighted cutlery at both my home and at my parents. Likewise, he has a choice of which cutlery to use, knowing that a weighted set is always an option.

proprioception, weighted cutlery
weighted cutlery.

Spatial Awareness.

My son, at times, stands too close to people, which for my family we are used to it. Consequently, his primary teacher created a line using tape on his desk to encourage him to stop leaning over into the other children.


He wears a backpack to school and does chair and wall push-ups. What’s more, he is encouraged to have movement breaks and shreds up paper for his artwork creations.

He sits at the edge of the sofa, pulling the coffee table close to him. I recall the Occupational Therapist explaining to me that for him to feel grounded, he has to do this and lean forward to create more force down onto his legs. Otherwise, he does not feel secure.

Deep Pressure.

Over a year ago my son used a weighted lap pad, which was very handy. However, as he got older, he expressed not wanting to use this as he did not want to stand out. Therefore, we respected his wishes and found more discreet ways to help him. (It’s all about doing what is most comfortable for him).


Vestibular refers to one of our senses of balance and coordination. The vestibular system is located in the inner ear.

In my previous blog: Diagnosis: The Journey Ahead Part One, I mentioned that my son used to struggle with catching a ball when he was younger. This was due to poor hand to eye coordination.

My son sways side to side, (not as much as he used to) flaps his hands and fist pumps. Likewise, he sometimes finds it difficult to stay still.

Swimming Sessions.

He participates in swimming sessions for autistic children. When he first started, he would swim diagonally across the pool. Gradually, he has developed the ability to coordinate both sides of his body together to swim in lane.

Fine Motor Skills.

Both proprioception and vestibular have an impact on our fine motor skills. In addition, this can cause difficulty with hand coordination and struggling to know where our hands are to our body.

To help promote a pincer grasp and visual integration you could do the following:

1) Use a light-up pen or a thicker pencil.

light up pen, proprioception,
light up pen.

2) Use a cross-guard pencil grip.

3) Pull out small objects from putty/Theraputty.

theraputty activity, senses, proprioception,
theraputty activity used to strengthen finger muscles.

4) Write in a slanted position.

5) Thread beads.

threading beads, fine motor skills,
threading beads.

6) Practice writing big and small letters in the sand.

7) Cut up cooked spaghetti using scissors. (You can use loophole/control training scissors).

fine motor spaghetti activity, senses
fine motor activity with spaghetti.

Sensory Related Post:

The Dentist Experience.


  1. Son has had many of the same issues. Has made vast improvements but still struggles. Many of your great ideas helped. The other two things that really helped but need patience (and perseverance) with is repeated bouncing of a bouncy ball while holding a fun conversation. Then eventually trying to catch a ball while bouncing on a trampoline.

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