What is the vestibular sense and why is it important?

What is the Vestibular Sense:

sit and spin

An example of a Sit-and-Spin

The vestibular sense responds to a change in your head position or having your feet lifted off of the ground. It also contributes to balance and equilibrium.

Why is the Vestibular Sense Important:

Vestibular input is important for children’s development because it helps them maintain balance and trunk control and also helps them to successfully interact with their environment for fine motor, visual motor (e.g. tracking a moving object), gross motor, sports activities and self-care activities (e.g. tilting the head back to rinse shampoo out of their hair). Vestibular input can also help a child to feel regulated in order to keep them focused and attentive.

Activities to provide vestibular input:

  • Somersaults
  • Log rolls
  • Rolling inside of a barrel/tunnel
  • Prone (on stomach) or inverted (upside down) on top of a large exercise ball
  • Swinging
  • Hanging upside down from a trapeze bar or monkey bars
  • Sit-n-Spin
  • Merry-go-round
  • Hammock
  • Roller coasters

Amanda Mathews

Amanda Mathews, M.S., OTR/L is a licensed Occupational Therapist. She graduated from UW-Whitewater with a Bachelor’s degree in Communicative Disorders, and then Mt. Mary College with a Master’s of Science in Occupational Therapy. Amanda has experience working in occupational therapy with adults and children of all ages in a variety of settings, including hospitals, homes, and private outpatient and pediatric clinics. Outside of occupational therapy, Amanda has experience working as a line therapist, daycare provider, nanny, swim instructor, and Sunday school teacher. Amanda is dedicated to addressing the needs of children and helping them to be successful in their everyday lives.

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