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Anyone know much about vestibular processing, please?

(36 Posts)
EstherRancid Sat 23-Feb-13 19:51:35

DD has dx of ASD, and <hopefully> the local Paeds will take her on for in depth sensory profiling (has been referred by CAMHS)

She's HF, very impulsive at times and wonder if she might end up with ADHD dx also.

But something that has always puzzled, and really irritated us at times, is she simply MUST be 1st to go up or down stairs or escalators. Even if we're holding her hand she has to stand a few inches in front.

I thought this was the classic 'must be 1st in line' thing, but she actually prefers to be at the back of lines etc so just ignored it to a point.

Over the past few months, I've noticed she has a quite unique way of walking down stairs, she 'feels' the riser with the back of her heel and slides her foot down that way - I watched her purposefully today as we were at the leisure centre, and there was lots of room. She did this movement all the way down, but if someone was coming up past her, she lost her footing and then almost lost her balance!

Her general balance and co-ordination has improved vastly over the past year due to trampoline classes, but stairs are still a problem.

Anyone got any idea?


mumgoingcrazy Mon 25-Feb-13 19:50:48

Merrycouthymows you mentioned on an earlier post you feel your way down the stairs and don't look at your feet and don't like others on the stairs with you.

My dd2 is exactly the same but is 5 and unable to tell me why, could you explain why she does this?

MerryCouthyMows Mon 25-Feb-13 15:19:05


Goldmandra Mon 25-Feb-13 15:08:05

...and it SQUEAKS!!!! shock

EstherRancid Mon 25-Feb-13 14:44:20

polystyrene is just so wrong!

it looks like ice but is warm

it's big and bulky but can blow in the wind

cut it <shudder> and it's made of balls

it sounds brittle but it bounces

it's WRONG i tell thee, bloody wrong!

Goldmandra Mon 25-Feb-13 13:40:52

I would pay that extra tenner any day!

I keep hoping that someone decide that it's too environmentally unfriendly to be allowed in packaging.

I feel all squirmy again now confused

MerryCouthyMows Mon 25-Feb-13 12:24:17

And Esther too. OMG. I DON'T 'do' polystyrene. My DC's deal with it for me.

I had a washing machine delivered a couple of weeks ago - I HAD to make the delivery men take the polystyrene away with them AND sweep up, even though it cost me an extra tenner!!

MerryCouthyMows Mon 25-Feb-13 12:22:13

Goldmandra - you are LITERALLY the first person I have ever spoken to that also has an issue with polystyrene!!

I don't feel so weird and odd now! grin

porridgeLover Mon 25-Feb-13 09:50:26

Yes to getting OT (someone who is additionally qualified in Sensory Integration ideally).
You may benefit from it yourself!

Will she need it all her life? Well, all motor development and learning works from a sensory base. As she matures, she may well be similar to you in that she may recognise that certain sensations are abhorrent to her. But luckily she will understand why because of the work you are doing now, and she will be able to take steps around it. I cant imagine that she will need ongoing therapy for life, that should become something that she chooses to dip in and out of as she is older.

porridgeLover Mon 25-Feb-13 09:46:26

If your vestibular system is not 'fine-tuned' then your spatial awareness will be less than optimal (so the child will be clumsy, awkward, have difficulty with sequencing and organising tasks).

Yes to the movement classes helping as it will give her extra information for her brain to work with. Especially as she likes hanging upside down (very intense extra verstibular information) and mirrors (visually gets the information that is not getting through efficiently from her proprioceptive system).

porridgeLover Mon 25-Feb-13 09:40:22

Esther I've not been on here for a few days so have just skimmed your thread as the Vestibular headline nabbed me.

Vestibular processing is regarded as the 'sensory ground' in OT terms; that is, it is the most fundamental sensory system and all of the others need info from the vestibular system to make sense of the world and the info they receive.
E.g. the visual system ties what it 'sees' with how it 'feels' to the vestibular system (think seeing and feeling jumping on a trampoline).
The obvious link is becoming car-sick/sea-sick when what we see and feel can be out-of-whack and most people become nauseous.

Your example of going down an escalator requires your DD's brain to link together vestibular (you can feel yourself moving down even with your eyes closed) with visual (quite intense visual as you are being passively moved through space) and proprioceptive (feeling where your body parts are in relation to each other).

Being first in line, frees up brain space (I'd guess) to process whats going on without having to process who else is in front of her, blocking her view of the end point.

Goldmandra Mon 25-Feb-13 09:13:27

I'm another polystyrene-phobe!!

My family know to their cost that it is a good idea to keep it away from me. My heart plummets whenever I open a package and realise I will have to move and handle a load of it. I am gritting my teeth and shuddering just at the though of it!

I didn't realise there were others who felt the same smile

EstherRancid Mon 25-Feb-13 09:04:48

DD will indeed be educating her teachers, trouble is, she's in Y1 confused so not very likely to be taken seriously. Yet wink

I've shared those videos in a girls group i'm involved with, thanks again, Gold

Merry, i've been in tears trying to touch polystyrene packaging in the past. With hindsight it was a very troubled part of my life and the stress must have contributed to the sensory overload.

I score very low on those self-testing doobries, but i'm wondering now how much i've learnt to hide/ignore too?

MerryCouthyMows Mon 25-Feb-13 02:04:53

(I have lots of Autistic traits, various sensory issues, some I've overcome, some I doubt I ever will - the noise of polystyrene squeaking for one...I score 43 on the AQA test...)

MerryCouthyMows Mon 25-Feb-13 02:03:35

blush I'm 31, and I still 'feel' my way down the stairs without looking at my feet, and get anxious and stressed if anyone else is on the staircase at the same time as me!

Goldmandra Sun 24-Feb-13 20:11:50

I should have linked to both of them, shouldn't I? I have shared the proprioception one with school staff and other Early Years providers in the hope of helping them to understand the children in their care a little better.

I hope your DD is educating her teachers smile

EstherRancid Sun 24-Feb-13 18:16:06

there's another one about the proprioceptive system too, Gold - thanks for those

Polter i understand what you mean, yes, there are tappers and wigglers everywhere aren't there?

the problem arises i think because DDs ASD causes her anxiety wrt to her sensory processing, and it's this that could give way to learnt detrimental behaviours if not addressed.

DD has just come up behind me watching those videos and said 'is that about proprioception' shock i can hardly say it, but she's an expert grin

Goldmandra Sun 24-Feb-13 17:48:58

This video explains a bit about the vestibular system and how it can affect children. I don't know how much it will help you but it's interesting.

PolterGoose Sun 24-Feb-13 17:34:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EstherRancid Sun 24-Feb-13 16:28:59

can i ask, those with DCs with SPD/vestibular processing difficulties and are having OT, are you expecting your DC to need some sort of therapy/exercises to use all their life does the brain/neurological system 'correct' itself? i know ABA can help wrt behaviour, but is there anything similar for sensory issues?

mumgoingcrazy Sun 24-Feb-13 15:51:04

Dd2 went to gosh for vestibular testing, she does exactly the same as your dd2, feels her way down the stairs, rarely looks at her feet. The result was vestibular organs normal, however vestibular processing very out of wack. We do lots of balance beam and stepping stones, stand on a wobble cushion, trampoline. We also did the listening program with bone conduction. The reason we did it with bone conduction as its not just the air waves, it also vibrates directly into her vestibular system. She has really improved, although we do have a long road ahead, she is quite severe. Hth

EstherRancid Sun 24-Feb-13 08:14:09

Summer yes, hopefully the local hospital will accept her referral for OT, her Dr at CAMHS has written to them.

because you're all so helpful, any idea why she suddenly become fixated with the TV stand? i keep finding she's lined small toys/coins/anything on it, or i've removed those she's always touching it, it's like she was a toddler again, i'm not an ogre, but (see my post about my own sensory issues blush ) the noise of her tapping on the wooden unit drives me bonkers!

Definitely sounds like she's doing a lot of vestibular and oral sensory seeking. Can you get another referral to OT?

If she's struggling to get enough sensory feedback from certain activities to the point where she's developed coping strategies she could probably benefit from some more OT input.

EstherRancid Sat 23-Feb-13 21:41:03

<shocking errant ' there, sorry>

EstherRancid Sat 23-Feb-13 21:39:39

i find her chewing tissues, and odd stuff - bought her chewellery but it's too hard, she want's something with 'give' in it.

her favourite chew is ballet shoe leather confused

she hangs upside down at every opportunity, and loves mirrors, she does slap her own head...

mummywizz Sat 23-Feb-13 21:32:09

my ds 5yrs has just seen an OT for these reasons (deliberately bashing into children) touching everything, and everything goes into his mouth, Poor thing struggles to make friends as they are all 'wary' of him. the Ot suggested joint compression therapy and rub downs, can anyone tell me how this will help, she didn't really explain, just that I had to do it 3 times per day

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