Activities for the Vestibular Sense When a child has vestibular dysfunction, sensory integration therapy is suggested. Parents and teachers can provide SAFE activities, too, bearing in mind that the vestibular sense is our most primal and powerful sense and therefore the one we must address with the highest caution. We must NEVER impose vestibular experiences under any circumstances.
Most vestibular input is during the start/stop phase of the movement.
Fast start/stops are alerting.
Slow rocking is soothing and calming.
The wise approach may be to start slowly, take frequent breaks to check in with the child’s response, ask if he wants more or feels all done with the activity, add some proprioception, and then, if the child is ready, go back for more.
Crawling and climbing improves motor planning, postural control and bilateral coordination.
Straddling increases postural muscle strength and improves righting and equilibrium responses.
Resting inside allows the child to take a break and get away form it all.
Gentle Roughhousing Activities Safe and appropriate physical activity strengthens our muscles and teaches us what our bodies can and can’t do how to protect ourselves, how to anticipate what’s coming at us, and how to make smart choices.
Rowboat - (Sit facing each other, legs in a “V”. Press feet against each other and take each others hands. Gently row forward and backward while singing “Row, row, row your boat.”
Airplane – Lie on your back, balance child’s tummy on your feet and lift child up in air while holding on to hands.
This is the Way the Lady Rides – bounce child on lap.
Double Dancer – let child stand on your feet while dancing around.
Changing head position, defying gravity, maintaining balance, rocking rhythmically, moving in different directions, and flexing and extending muscles are some of the moves that provide input to the vestibular system.
Deep tough pressure and joint pressure organize and calm the tactile and proprioceptive systems.
Assuming and holding different positions strengthen body awareness, muscular control, and postural security.
Playful roughhousing with a trusted adult or buddy builds trust, self-esteem, emotional security, social skills and a foundation for all kinds of learning.
Coping Tips As in any activity, when a child says “Stop” or “I don’t like this” do not continue. These energetic activities may overload a child!
Information taken from “The Out of Sync Child Has Fun” by Carol Stock Kranowitz, M.A.