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Vestibular needs in children

This week I am working with a child in one of our local Early Start classrooms. I noticed he would move the top of his body forward when he walked, and his hands and feet would work to catch up to him. His walking posture tipped me off to his potential vestibular development need.

I filled the staff in on why he is doing this action and then gave them activities to support the development of his system. I will also be meeting with his family next week to fill them in on how to support his vestibular needs at home with activities.

Defining the Vestibular System

The vestibular system is one of the three areas of our sensory system. The vestibular system has to do with balance. It is based on a structure within the ear that controls our balance. If you ever had an ear plugged and you experienced dizziness, it was actually your vestibular system that was affected.

This system needs to develop in children just as so many other areas do. If a child has missed out on this development, then they may need your assistance to help push it along. Occupational therapists work with the sensory system and so you may refer the child for some OT services and help. I find it never hurts to understand the vestibular system, and know what you can do in your classroom or home to help support the child’s system and get them the services that will ensure their vestibular needs are met.

A Solution to Assist Children with Vestibular Needs

One particular way to input more vestibular activities into your classroom or home is to swing on the swings. The swing will help because when a person’s feet leaves the ground, your balance is reliant on receptors in the ear that are controlling the balance of your body, and you use the vestibular system, which keeps you on the swing. If your child or student is afraid of swinging, there are other simpler activities you can implement that will engage the vestibular system.

Every child can benefit from vestibular development activities. I’ve assisted many “typical” children move their development along in this area. I offer a full day training titled Sensory Processing: It Does Make Sense, which addresses what the sensory system is, what it assists a child with and activities and solutions to provide to all children in your classroom at the same time and placed within activities you are already doing.

If you are curious to know more about how you can benefit from my day training or if you’re a parent wanting these types of activities for your children, I would love to speak with you. Feel free to contact me anytime at Thank you for working with kids and have a wonderful Father’s Day weekend.

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