Our knowledge about concepts such as body scheme, personal space, and near space perception has grown tremendously over the recent years. This has largely been due to a broad array of neurophysiological, neurokinesiological, and neuropsychological research evidence. Bringing these concepts down to the practical level of function and intervention for the child with SPD can be daunting.
However, given advances in fmri and DTI neuroimaging practices, better understanding of the integrated brain pathways that support functions of spatial perception have emerged. Although the key players of functional brain pathways in the development of body awareness have not changed, awareness of the changing roles of these key players has certainly been expanded. While the researchers still seem to agree that the vestibular, visual, and tactile-proprioceptive systems remain major players, their involvement in the coding of spatial orientation seems to have shifted.
One thought-provoking point brought into the arena is that both the visual and the vestibular systems have been shown to play a role in increasing somatosensory gain sensitivity. Clinically, this means that when vision and/or vestibular input are brought into the equation, children with SPD who have deficits in body awareness should perform better when these types of additional input are included.
Another thought-provoking point brought into the arena is that researchers have found that children with Developmental Coordination Disorder may require larger sensory discrepancies in order to register error signals. Clinically, this means that rather than initially focusing upon the ability to discriminate among small differences, children with SPD should be better able to adapt and perform better when larger somatosensory differences are introduced.
Jody C. Culham, et. al: The Role of parietal cortex in visuomotor control: What have we learned from neuroimaging?
Elisa Ferre, et. al: Multisensory Interactions between Vestibular, Visual and Somatosensory Signals
Mitsuru Kashiwagi: Parietal dysfunction in developmental coordination disorder: a functional MRI study.