Why explore movement and balance with your vision impaired child?
The vestibular sense, summed up, is the sense of movement and balance. It is the very first one to develop in the womb and is responsible for controlling our muscles and some of our reflexes. The vestibular system is stimulated by movement and helps us to control our ‘postural tone’. When a child lacks the ability to access their sight to assist with movements such as up and down, backwards and forwards, under and over, around and around, their vestibular sense is really going to come into play!
The lack of sight stimulation can have an impact on the vestibular sense, so it is very important to stimulate it in the appropriate manner which fits with your child’s individual needs. In terms of determining spatial awareness and orientation, the vestibular sense may compensate for what they lack in sight .
Many visually impaired children enjoy being rocked, spun around or bounced up and down. Playing in this way with your child can give them access to that sense of movement – the vestibular.
Navigating their surroundings as they grow older, without being to relay solely on their sight, is something we want our children to be able to do with confidence and enjoyment. Starting these skills early and helping them to know their position in the environment via this sense is very important to children who have a sight condition.