During internship for a few weeks of symposium I read the book The Out Of Sync Child. This book was very informative and gave me a better idea of how the clients I am working with process the world. The Out Of Sync Child has a chapter on each of our senses and how those can be affected for those with Sensory Processing Disorder. Sensory Processing Disorder is the inability to use information received through the sense in order to function in daily life. The five main areas included are tactile, vestibular, proprioception, vision, and auditory. This book has so much information in it so for this post I am going to focus on Vestibular.
First, when we are using the vestibular we have the ability to tell where our body is in space specifically by sending sensory messages from the neck, eyes, and body to Central Nervous System to generate muscle tone to move smoothly.
The functions of the vestibular include:
- Balance and where the body is directionally
- Awareness of dizziness
- Awareness of other peoples movements
- Keeping us from falling (which is a learned skill)
Clients either have overresponsivity or underresponsivity to the vestibular senses. They can also be vestibular seeking. Knowing the difference and observing this behavior can make all the difference during a session. When a client is overresponsive they don’t like fast movement so they like to stay stationary, and they don’t enjoy spinning and even sometimes driving in a car. When a client is underresponsive they don’t notice movement and they frequently fall. When a client is vestibular seeking they love movement, like jumping, spinning, swinging, climbing, and they need to move to stay focused.
Some typical problems for clients with vestibular dysfunction include:
- Being uncoordinated/bad posture
- Visual problems (looking from the board to their desk)
- Difficulty interpreting language
- No awareness of falling
- Bilateral coordination is slow
- Hard time riding a moving bike
You can find The Out of Sync Child at: