Archive for August 7th, 2009

Recognizing Children’s Vestibular Problems

As stated in previous blog entries, children can easily have symptoms of vestibular disorders without their parents knowledge. Whether it’s because of a child’s lack of ability to communicate the disorder or the reduced likelihood of children having vestibular disorders than adults  is questionable. What we do want to know is how to recognize these disorders as early as possible. If you suspect your child may have a vestibular disorder:

1) Notice how your child reacts to typical childhood activities on the playground. If he’s uncomfortable with movement, he may resist rides down the slide or opportunities to swing. If he needs intense movement he may never seem satisfied with how high he goes or how fast he spins.

2) Think about your child’s reaction to new situations involving movement. If she’s uncomfortable with movement, she may avoid the situation or move extremely slowly. Children who under respond to movement, may move too quickly, and appear risky in their behavior.

3) Reflect on how your child reacts to elevators. Children who are uncomfortable with movement may refuse to go on escalators or elevators. Some children experience nausea when riding in the car.

4) Observe your child’s behavior while going up and down stairs or stepping off curbs. If he holds too tightly to the banister or appears overly serious, he may have gravitational insecurity.

5) Recognize that a child may have a vestibular sensory problem if she seems to crave excessive movement, such as jumping, bouncing, spinning or rocking. She may twirl repeatedly but never appear dizzy.

6) Talk to your child’s school about her behavior in class. Ask the teacher if she fidgets frequently. Many children with vestibular problems need to move frequently to feel where they are in space.