Proprioception and Autism: What You Need to Know

Proprioception is the sense of knowing where your body is in space. It’s the “sixth sense” that helps our bodies coordinate movement, balance, and posture. For those with autism, proprioception can be significantly affected. If you or your child have autism and experience issues with movement coordination, balance, or posture, it could be due to a dysfunction in proprioception. Here’s what you need to know about proprioception and autism.

What is Proprioception?

Proprioception is the sense of knowing where our body parts are located without looking at them. It’s an unconscious awareness of where each part of our body is in relation to other parts of our body at any given moment. This helps us coordinate movement and control posture and balance. Dysfunction in this area can lead to issues with coordination, balance, and posture.

How Does Proprioception Affect Those With Autism?

Research suggests that those with autism may have difficulty processing proprioceptive information accurately or may not process it at all. As a result, those with autism often struggle with motor coordination tasks as well as tasks involving balance and posture control. This can lead to difficulties engaging in everyday activities such as walking up stairs or even dressing oneself. Additionally, some research suggests that those with autism may have an increased sensitivity to touch which can further disrupt their ability to integrate proprioceptive information accurately into their daily lives.

What Can I Do To Help?

Fortunately, there are a number of interventions available for those who are having difficulty processing proprioceptive information due to autism. Occupational therapy is one option that can help improve motor coordination skills by using activities such as weighted vests or by focusing on sensory integration techniques such as brushing therapy or compression garments which provide input that many individuals on the spectrum find calming and helpful when it comes to integrating sensory information more effectively into their everyday life. Additionally, physical therapy can also be helpful for improving balance and postural control through exercises designed specifically for individuals on the spectrum.


Proprioception plays an important role in the day-to-day functioning of individuals on the spectrum who experience difficulty coordinating movements, balancing themselves, or controlling their posture due to dysfunction in this area . While there are no quick fixes for these issues , occupational therapy and physical therapy interventions can help provide strategies for managing dysfunctions related to proprioception , allowing individuals on the spectrum greater independence when it comes to performing everyday tasks . Understanding how proprioception affects those with autism will help parents better understand their child’s needs so they can seek out appropriate treatments that will give them greater control over their lives .

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