1.4 Vestibular System?

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Earlier in this course we mentioned the vestibular system. Remember? Do you know what it is? The vestibular system is in your inner ear, and is responsible for balance. It is literally what tells your brain which way is up and keeps you on your feet. The vestibular system must be integrated in order for the brain to develop well. And sensory (yes, vestibular is one of our senses) integration is connected with reflex integration. See the same word there? Integration. This process of integrating sensory processing and reflexes happens in infancy/toddlerhood. In our years of evaluating students at Yellow Wood, I’ve come to find that these two are intertwined and one cannot be improved without the other. Today I’ll be sharing symptoms of sensory processing issues, as well as symptoms of retained primitive reflexes so that we can see where the overlap occurs!

Symptoms of a weak vestibular system:

  • Clumsiness

  • No fear of heights or excessive fear

  • Poor sense of space - stands too close

  • Difficulty modeling movements

  • Trouble learning to ride a bike

  • Trouble mentally rotating and reversing objects in space, learning to read a clock

With a weak vestibular system, often children will either CRAVE movement or AVOID it. IF a child is avoiding movement because this system is weak, they…

  • might get dizzy easily,

  • avoid visual/motor skills like catching a ball,

  • be uncoordinated or clumsy.

If they crave movement because their vestibular system is weak…

  • Might have trouble recognizing they are in someone’s personal space

  • Bump into things a lot

  • Hyper aware of their own personal space.

Here is a printable handout for you!