While a life without adequate sensory function in any system is tricky. However, ,with the right therapy and teaching we can, with support, compensate for loss of visual, auditory, olfactory and gustatory sensory input.
A life without proprioceptive input, just like a life without vestibular or tactile input is nearly impossible. In this video clip watch Ian and Charles, who allows us to see the importance of having the sense of proprioception.
In the video documentary we can see how Ian had to learn to use vision and other sensory input to compensate for loss of proprioception and some touch input. Proprioceptive input is not providing him information about his movements as he makes them, including the speed, rate, sequence, timing and force he is using.
While most proprioceptive input is from sensors located deep in muscle and tendons; receptors which are triggered on muscle contraction, and receptors in the deeper layers of the skin also provide some input from joints closest to the body. We get more input from movement around the the shoulder joint in comparison to those joints further away like the wrist. The brain is constantly integrating and checking information coming in, contrasting it to parallel sensory inputs; looking for similarities and consistency, detecting differences to confirm it’s growing picture of when and how the body is moving.
Adequate proprioception provides information about where a certain body part is and how it is moving. The brain interprets and uses this incoming information to refine and alter outgoing information to joints, muscles and tendons about how to adjust body positions to allow smooth graded movements, correctly timed and with just the right amount of pressure. Adequate proprioception, alongside tactile input is essential for early development and learning. Praxis (or the plannng and doing of new and novel movements) and the development of learned, purposeful movement patterns, essential for function.