Sensory Profile : Vestibular Avoider

Your struggle zone: coordination and balance

Sports is probably not your thing – you don’t enjoy it and you find it hard. Controlling and coordinating your body movements is tough and you may have trouble with balance and being able to stop suddenly when running. Perhaps you have never mastered riding a bike? You maybe don’t enjoy being in the back of a car and get car sick, or experience motion sickness on any form of transport. The vibrations from a bus or a train may just be too much for you. 

You might be irritable when you have to change position, you resist movement. You could enjoy sitting on the floor and holding onto people. You perhaps are seen as destructive with toys or objects and can be rough physically with people. Perhaps you are puzzled by your child who does not enjoy the swing or roundabout at the park? 

It’s a tough one to support, but breaking things down into smaller steps and trying things out one step at a time might help. Dyspraxia may also be something to consider – you can learn more in the links below or search the Content Hub under the tag ‘Dyspraxia’. 

Secret weapons:

  1. Sit on a swing without moving, then sit on a swing with feet off the ground and so on. Take it slowly and see how it goes. There is no need to force anyone to do anything they don’t want to, but if someone wants to do something with their peers, then gently working with them to learn a bit at a time may help.
  2. Signalling with visual clues (such as drawing a finish line) or explaining the process of the journey may help. Tom Tags are a brilliant tool for using visual steps to help people understand what is about to happen.
  3. Distraction is always a useful technique for yourself or someone you care for. Use the other senses to distract from the vestibular sense (movement) on a bus journey, by chewing, fidgeting or whatever else grounds, calms and allows self-regulation.
  4. Balance can also be improved with practice and things that encourage balance or create the sensation of movement can help, like a wobble cushion or balance board.

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