Finding the right balance between work, life, parents, spouse, friends is not a easy task. This battle continuous throughout ones life. But, has one ever felt curious about the manner a toddler learns to graduate from crawling to balance oneself on its feet, or while sitting. Having learned about the tactile and proprioception in the earlier posts, it’s time to learn about vestibular sensation that helps kids to balance. These two lines is more than just sufficient to establish the importance of the vestibular system in our lives and imperative it is to integrate in children who cannot organise the vestibular inputs on their own.
Our vestibular apparatus is inside our ears that includes including the utricle, the saccule, and three semicircular canals. It’s a fluid filled apparatus and works according to the direction of the disturbance made in the fluid.This apparatus is so designed or placed in a way that it can sense movement in every direction. Saccule and utricle detects linear (straight) motion while angular (rotational) movements are taken care by semicircular canals. These fluid filled canals get active with a change in the direction of head and therefore the fluid, sending a message to the brain. Since this apparatus is present in each other, they coordinate closely and provide information to the brain from both sides.
A sense of balance is always maintained in any direction be it sitting or standing. It is very sensitive to any change in the direction of head. Quick balance response is required especially when there is sudden perturbation. Just think how many number of times you must have seen your child fall and stand back in the growing age. Gradually that very child learns not to fall as the system matures. Vestibular system is integral to development as its role become even more important as the child enjoys jumping and all the rides that even we all must have enjoyed in our yesteryears.
Children who are over sensitive to vestibular inputs would avoid playing, hoping, fear heights or may end up as a child who just would like to sit. Motion sickness is also an example when this system is not fully integrated and is over sensitive. On the other hand under responsive child would be running helter skelter, spinning their heads to gain added stimuli.
A professional becomes all the more must as a child may be over sensitive in experiencing stimuli in one direction while be under responsive in other. An expert can help you get the right dosage of activities that will help your over sensitive (to tolerate the change in direction) or under responsive child (seeking the stimuli almost incessantly).
What could be better than a swing in different directions to get that vestibular stimulus? With the growing knowledge in this field, myriad types of swing are available in the market. Now appropriate stimuli can be chosen from a wide variety of swings like hammock, monkey swing, mat swing or a seated swing and many more.
These sensations, namely, tactile, proprioception and vestibular work in close harmonious and orchestrated manner. An occupational therapist is a trained professional who can segregate them with observation and other tests understand them well and therefore can help the child in integrating them with adequate dosage.
Learn more how their deficits hamper daily functioning at prowellnessindia.com