management of the vestibular system
Children with vestibular dysfunction will often have delayed motor milestones. They may demonstrate poor head control, delayed independent sitting, and/or delayed walking. The child may appear clumsy and more prone to falls or injury. With the right therapy, the everyday impact can be minimised.
Vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) - is an exercise-based program run by specialist Vestibular Physiotherapists and is designed to promote central nervous system compensation for inner ear deficits. VRT exercises should be personalised based on a child’s age, interests, level of comprehension, and test results. The exercises may help strengthen balance skills and coordination. Exercises might involve things like bending down, standing or walking with eyes open and then with eyes closed, swimming, or walking barefoot on various uneven surfaces.
Children typically respond more quickly to VRT than adults, because of their greater neuroplasticity—the ability of their neurological systems to more quickly compensate for and adapt to vestibular deficits. In addition, children tend to be less fearful of movement than adults, so they participate well in the balance and movement aspects of therapy.
Further information on vestibular rehabilitation can be found in this information sheet, which has been written for Usher Kids UK by a senior specialist physiotherapist, practising in the UK.