With Christmas coming up I thought I write a little bit about the kind of learning resources I used to love having in the preschool I ran and managed. This lovely colourful wooden animal set is great for developing coordination and fine motor skills. Fine motor skills require concentration, persistence and coordination involving a limited range of muscles. Developing good motor skills is actually a precursor to developing emotional regulation and executive function skills. It involves what is known as Proprioception or an awareness of where our body is in relation to the space around us. We start firstly with gross motor skills and big movements then hone those skills with more precise focussed activities. This can be using tweezers, big squirty syringes, theading, jigsaws and puzzles.

Other simple activities and games can include wooden blocks, pick up sticks, posting boxes as well as creative arts activities such as painting using different types of ‘brushes’ such as twigs and cotton buds. keep things fun, simple and allow plenty of time for messy play to support sensory development too!

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Sonoransun Pediatric Therapy explains why Proprioception is so important. You can find the full article here.

Proprioception is the body’s ability to receive input through receptors in the skin, muscles and joints, and transfer the information to the brain through the nervous system so that the body can sense itself. To put it simply, proprioception is the sense that tells the body where it is in space. Proprioception is very important to the brain as it plays a big role in self-regulation, coordination, posture, body awareness, the ability to attend and focus, and speech. Many children with sensory processing disorders, Autism, and ADHD struggle with one or more of the areas listed above because of their body is not processing the proprioceptive input effectively. Signs of proprioceptive dysfunction or under-registration include:

  • Poor Motor Planning/Coordination & Poor Body Awareness (difficulty understanding personal space or understanding boundaries when playing with others, presents with delay in gross and fine motor skills, bumps into people and objects frequently, difficulty riding a bike, difficulty going up and down stairs, difficulty with speech)
  • Poor Self-Regulation Skills (emotional, difficulty attending to task, mood swings, frequent meltdowns, difficulty with sleep)
  • Sensory Seeking Behaviors (plays rough, taps or shakes feet while sitting, chews, bites, likes tight clothes, pushes or hits others, writes too hard)
  • Poor Postural Control (slouches, rests head on desk while working, leans on everything, poor muscle tone, unable to balance on one foot)
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