Proprioception and Autism: How Does ABA Therapy Help?

Proprioception is the concept of knowing where your body is in space and the ability to maneuver it around your environment, which is also known as (subconscious) body awareness. This concept is important in your child’s development, as it helps them to develop a sense of self, to self-regulate, and to build motor skills (fine and gross). Proprioception also helps a child understand personal space and how to engage with their peers appropriately. Children who are on the autism spectrum may experience atypical proprioception, and ABA therapy can help to build these skills.

Proprioceptive Dysfunction
If your child does have problems with proprioception, they may experience proprioceptive dysfunction, which can create challenges in daily life. A child who does not have strong proprioceptive skills may be prone to falling or be atypically clumsy. Other symptoms of proprioceptive dysfunction might include motor control, grading movement (e.g. pressure needed to hold and write with a pen), and postural stability (e.g. standing up straight).

ABA Therapy Activities to Help with Proprioception
There are several activities that can be implemented not only in ABA therapy, but at home and at school to improve proprioception skills. These include wheelbarrow walks, bear hugs, and frog jumps. Others include jumping on a trampoline, squeezing or rolling Play-Doh, and playing on the monkeybars.

If you wish to provide additional practice for you child at home, you can have them carry heavy groceries, help with raking leaves, or vacuuming.

During school hours, your child can put the chairs on desks at the end of the day, erase the dry erase or chalkboard, or even carry a weighted backpack. These activities can help implement methods outside of therapy.

ABA therapy can help children on the autism spectrum to build proprioception skills, which can positively influence their self-esteem and socially significant skills. An ABA therapist can also use discrete trial training or structured play, which allows for immediate positive reinforcement. This positive reinforcement is structured so that the child continually builds positive behaviors.

Want to learn more about proprioception in ABA therapy?
Contact us or call (773) 630-4400 to learn more about the range of services we provide for children who are on the autism spectrum at Chicago ABA Therapy, including applied behavior analysis therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology.