Water is important for life. We must drink enough water to keep ourselves hydrated. We enjoy playing in water on hot days. We use water to keep us clean. Water is good for your skin, too. It’s also great for proprioception. Proprioception is the sense that tells us where our limbs are in space. Without it, we would have to watch our feet in order to walk or look at our hands in order to type a paragraph.
People with Autism often have proprioceptive dysfunction, meaning they may have trouble knowing where their limbs are in relation to other things. This is often evidenced by a preference for crashing into things, pressing too hard on a pen when writing, chewing on things or biting their hands, preferring tight hugs or squeezes, or needing clothing to be tight.
Water play is a great exercise for developing proprioception. Going to the ocean to feel the waves crashing, splashing in a swimming pool, or enjoying a water park are all great ways to provide the proprioceptive input needed by people with Autism.
You can add some music to the mix to help improve proprioception, too. Stomping in water puddles or through the sprinklers while singing or listening to music can help increase rhythmic movement, which can help improve coordination and provide more stimulation for the brain then just water play alone. Try some of these songs:
- Singing in the Rain
- Itsy Bitsy Spider
- Surfin’ USA