Easy Vestibular Activities for Kids with Autism

vestibular activities

WHAT IS VESTIBULAR SENSATION?

The Vestibular system is part of our inner ear responsible for sending information about movement, space and gravity to our brain, which in turn helps the individual to maintain balance, coordination and detects changes in the body position as well.
For children, both the vestibular and proprioceptive sensations are essential which enables a child to feel secure and confident in their body in order to move, play, learn and to achieve motor milestones.

VESTIBULAR DYSFUNCTION IN CHILDREN

Children with vestibular dysfunction experience difficulty in integrating movement, balance, space and gravity information. As a result, they may be vestibular hypersensitive or vestibular hyposensitive.

Vestibular Hypersensitivity or Gravitational insecurity:
Children with vestibular hypersensitivity often show intolerance to movement. The signs are,
Clumsy or uncoordinated movement
Frequent falls
Poor spatial awareness resulting in bumping into objects, walls, person
Avoiding swings, slides
Avoiding unstable surface
Difficulty in learning to climb up and down the staircase

Vestibular Hyposensitivity:
Children with vestibular hyposensitivity often show an urge for movement and enjoy the vigorous activity. The signs are,
Spinning around
Always on the go
Holding head upside down over the edge of the bed
Jumping
Exaggerated rocking movements
Hyperactive
No fear of heights

VESTIBULAR ACTIVITIES AT HOME

Vestibular Hyposensitivity:
Jumping on the bed, couch or on the trampoline will be helpful for the kid.
Climbing the stairs, ramp, rope ladder
Running by implementing any goal-oriented activities like football, basketball, transfer of objects from one end to another, etc.
Picking up objects from the ground and arranging them on the table
Rocking horse
Rocking hammock
Rolling on the floor
Swing
Riding a scooter board
Balance board activities
Skipping
Wheelbarrow walking
Obstacle course with more jumping, crawling and balance activities.

Vestibular Hypersensitivity:
Walking with goal-oriented activities
Gentle rocking with rhymes
Slow swing with rhymes
Jumping with support
Climbing stairs with support
Slow bouncing on the therapy ball or peanut ball
Transferring objects from one end to the other end by sitting on the peanut ball
Ball throwing and catching activities

POINTS TO REMEMBER WHILE PROVIDING VESTIBULAR ACTIVITIES

Always gradually increase the speed
Always be by the child’s side, so that he/she feels secure
Respect when the child says “NO” or “STOP”.
If the child experiences dizziness, stop the activity immediately.

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