Hitting: how the sensory system is involved
Often when I’m reading about children that hit and the sensory processing system, I read about how children are overstimulated and then they hit out. While I do think that is one reason a child, who is still developing their sensory system, may hit out, I think there is another reason that is often overlooked.
How an Underdeveloped Proprioceptive System Leads to Hitting
In my sensory processing training, I talk about how a child that has not yet fully developed their prioprioceptive system (body awareness) may hit out because they are not sure if a child next to them is going to run into them. You see, when you have a decreased proprioceptive sense, you aren’t sure where you begin and end. Do you ever see a child squint their eyes and retract their body in as another child is running by? That is often a sign that a child is unaware of where their body edge ends.
People who have developed proprioceptive systems, take this skill for granted but there are people who are not able to feel this body awareness from the inside. As a child builds their body awareness they will not need to think about how to protect themselves or be so defensive. They will feel safe in standing in a group, playing on the playground etc.
Video solutions to help children develop their body awareness
On my YouTube channel, you can find many solution-based videos on ways to improve children’s proprioceptive system. Here are a couple of my favorite videos you can use in your classroom increase your student’s development.
A heavy work activity to support strengthening and proprioceptive input
Use of a pressure vest to increase proprioception development
Are you a teacher? Do you see your students hit out? What are the solutions you’ve used to help those children stop hitting? Or, if you decide to use my solutions, please let me know how they worked for you by commenting in the comment box below. Thank you for working with kids!