Vestibular stimulation is the input that your body receives when you experience movement or gravity. It can be mild; nodding your head or climbing stairs or it can be intense; skydiving or a rollercoaster
Characteristics of Vestibular Dysfunction
- Vestibular input has an impact on arousal. Too much vestibular input may lead to overarousal and too little vestibular input may lead to underarousal.
- Hypersensitive: The child who is hypersensitive to vestibular input is more responsive to sensory input and will avoid movement. The child might:
- be fearful of moving equipment
- be fearful of simple challenges to balance
- may appear lethargic
- may appear to have low muscle tone
- may avoid active play
- Hyposensitive: The child who is hyposensitive to vestibular input is less responsive to sensory input and will seek movement. The child might:
- appear to need to move
- enjoy busy, energetic activities
- appear to be in constant motion
- enjoy movement
- spin, whirl, or bounce frequently
Tips for Providing Vestibular Input
- Slow, rhythmical, predictable movement is calming. For example, swinging, rocking, walking, or slow, gentle spinning in one direction.
- Quick, arrhythmical, unpredictable movement is arousing. For example, jumping, bouncing, running, playground activities like the teeter totter, slide or climber, sports and games like hopscotch, soccer, hockey or tag.
- Supervise and monitor activities as “overload” of the nervous system can occur. Signs of overload include irregular breathing, colour change, sweating, pallor, increased anxiety, change in sleep patterns, etc.
- An activity should be stopped immediately if the child shows any signs of distress and/or discomfort.
- Consultation with an Occupational Therapist is recommended.
Geneva Centre for Autism
112 Merton Street, Toronto, Ontario, M4S 2Z8
Tel: (416) 322-7877 – Toll Free: 1-866-Geneva-9 – Fax: (416) 322-5894