It is really important for parents, caregivers and educators around a child, who may be experiencing difficulties, is underperforming or acting out in certain scenarios, to understand what he or she is telling us through their behaviour so that they can help better support the issue.
Behaviour: Vestibular System – self-regulation
Hypermobility: Vestibular System – low tone
Low tone: Vestibular System – stands to increase muscle tone
Constant movement (can’t stay in seat): can be low tone (not able to organize muscles to hold a position – secondary to low tone and decreased co-contraction (flexors and extensors working together); also due to under-reactive vestibular system (need to move to keep vestibular system ‘online’
Can’t hold a sitting posture: low tone (difficult to organize muscles to hold posture, secondary to low tone and decreased co-contraction)
Mushy mouth/articulation issues: low oral tone (vestibular system) and often proprioceptive issue (not aware of where tongue, teeth, lips are)
Self-regulation: impulse control; attention and focus; distractibility – Vestibular System issue
Makes sounds: Providing auditory support for self and also trying to block out sound that is too stimulating (white noise) – immature Auditory System
Hands over ears for fire drills or loud, unexpected sounds; behavioural response to loud sounds (gets upset or frantic) – immature Auditory System
Sensory seeking – hugs (deep pressure): proprioceptive issue. Hugs/deep pressure has an organizing, calming, focusing effect on the child.
Sensory seeking– can’t keep hands to self: tactile issue – seeking input/trying to mature Tactile System
Tactile Defensive: uses clothing as armour (hoodie up, sleeves down over hands); pulls away from touch; unexpected touch produces strong aversive reaction from child – Immature Tactile System
Bumps into people and objects (e.g. desks): combination of vestibular and proprioception; lacks awareness of where self/body parts are (spatial orientation)