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It’s Balance Awareness Week!

 

balanceThis week is Balance Awareness Week! Balance can be affected by many different sensory and motor systems and they all need to work together and team up for us to keep our balance during life’s everyday challenges.

Here’s an introduction to our Sense of Balance.

Our vestibular system describes our balance system house in our inner ears. It becomes active before we our born, is tested out and activated by children as they roll and spin throughout childhood, and becomes more sensitive (no more spinning amusement rides!) as we age.

Here’s some more information about when things go wrong in this system in children.

Our somatosensory system is another big member of the balance team. This system includes touch (think toes in the sand) and also proprioceptive information, which travels from muscles and joints to the brain to tell us where we are in space. Here’s a vestibular patient and OT’s blog post talking about proprioception Here’s another great post on proprioception, which (yay!) includes the importance of alignment in core activation (more important than strength!).

Our third important sensory system of the balance team is vision. Children rely on vision as #1 of the sensory team for balance. As children get older, they must learn to integrate the three systems.

During a physical therapy evaluation, the different sensory and motor systems and how they are working together are assessed. Common problem areas are:
-Postural asymmetries and poor alignment affecting PROPRIOCEPTION
-Decreased VESTIBULAR activation
-Decreased functional VISION skills
-Decreased ability to combine postural control with these sensory systems to work automatically without effort

Call us to arrange a screening and learn how to improve your child’s balance skills within minutes!

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My Child Keeps Falling Out of His Chair!

A quick and dirty test to rule out a commonly missed cause and how to fix it.

Many parents and teachers complain of children with developmental, learning, and coordination challenges falling out of their chairs. They will see this during class instruction and during homework time. Read more

Vestibular Rehab for Children

Part 3: Vestibular Rehab for Children

This is the third part of The Balance Series. In the first part we reviewed the components of balance. In the second part we discussed the various vestibular dysfunctions that can occur in children. In this last article we will look at the different components of treatment. Read more

Childhood Vestibular Disorders Part 2 of 3
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Part 2: Childhood Vestibular Disorders

As discussed in The Sense of Balance there is an important sense that may not be part of our daily consciousness, but is integral to everything we do. The vestibular system plays a role in posture, balance and vision. Read more

The Sense of Balance - Part 1 of 3

Part 1: The Sense of Balance

We all learn about our 5 senses as children: smell, touch, see, hear and taste. Our sensory systems are so important to how we experience each day. We smell the delicious food that is cooking, hear the sizzle from the pan and can’t wait to get a taste. Our sensory systems also underlie our attention, focus and motor control. An important sense that may not be part of our daily consciousness, but is integral to our ability to move, play and learn, is our sense of balance.
Read more