What is Vestibular Input?

Our vestibular system is located within our inner ear, and this systems responds to the position of the head in relation to gravity and movement. Every time we move our head, we are receiving vestibular input. Our vestibular system is extremely important for our balance, and it links together our other sensory systems, allowing us to understand the “big picture” of our body and surroundings.

  • Overactive vestibular systems: Children with overactive vestibular system benefit from slow, linear movements. Avoid activities with fast, alerting movements like spinning. Many kids who are hypersensitive are clumsy and have a fear of uneven surfaces and movement activities.
  • Under-active vestibular systems: These children would benefit from fast spinning and swinging to alert the system. These kiddos seek movements such as body whirling, jumping, or spinning.

Calming Vestibular Activities:

  • Slow repetitive rhythmic movements such as Tai Chi or swinging- walking or riding a bike
  • Swinging in linear, slow, smooth, gentle, predictable patterns
  • Rocking chairs or swings
  • Playground equipment (slides, hammock, and teeter totters
  • Climbing (trees, playground, ropes, rock-wall)
  • Sitting on an inflatable air cushion or other dynamic seating surface
  • Yoga poses
  • Standing on a balance board

Alerting Vestibular Activities:

  • Jumping on a trampoline
  • Hanging upside down by knees or jungle gym, dancing, cartwheels
  • Sitting and bouncing on a therapy ball 
  • Rolling down a hill (good proprioceptive input as well) or down a slip and slide
  • Amusement park rides such as carousels, roller coasters, sit-n-spins 

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