The vestibular system detects movement and gravitational pull, and it provides information regarding the position of our head in space and acceleration and deceleration of movement. It is the first sensory system to fully develop in uteroandis located in the inner ear. The vestibular system has strong neurological connections in the brain and is a major organizer of varied sensory input. This system is considered the most influential sensory system and has tremendous impact on one’s ability to function daily. Directly or indirectly, the vestibular system influences nearly everything we do. It is the unifying system in our brain that modifies and coordinates information received from other systems, and it functions like a traffic cop, telling each sensation where and when it should go or stop.  Read a blog on the Vestibular Senses by clicking here.


This system affects aspects of physical function like posture, balance, movement, coordination, attention, arousal level, impulsivity and behavior. The vestibular system works with tactile, auditory, and visual information to give us our perception of space and our position and orientation within that space. Children affected by poor vestibular processing may be perceived as inattentive, lazy, overly anxious, or seeking attention. They may have trouble reading or doing simple arithmetic. Functioning at school, going out into the community, performing routine daily tasks, or just getting out of bed in the morning may be difficult for children with vestibular difficulties.


Poor vestibular processing (or vestibular dysfunction) can occur for a variety of reasons; often, however, children develop a vestibular disorder for no known reason. Possible causes for vestibular dysfunction include: premature birth and a fairly long period of incubation after birth, exposure to excessive movement or invasive sounds as a fetus or infant, neglect (little handling and moving) during infancy, repeated ear infections or severe ear infections, maternal drug or alcohol abuse during pregnancy, or general developmental delay and immature development of the nervous system.


Symptoms and functional difficulties of poor vestibular processing include:
  • Over-arousal or under-arousal
  • Excessive movement
  • Avoiding movement at all costs
  • Difficulty maintaining attention
  • Motion sickness (car, boat, airplane), dizziness or nausea caused by watching things move
  • Excessive spinning or excessive watching of things spin
  • Inability to read or write in cursive
  • Decreased auditory processing
  • Inability to sustain listening without moving or rocking
  • Problems with balance (static or moving) and/or vertigo
  • Difficulty walking on uneven ground, and difficulty navigating stairs
  • Head banging
  • History of traumatic brain injury, shaken child syndrome, ear cuffing, etc.


The vestibular system primes the entire nervous system to function effectively by sending messages to the higher centers of the brain. When the influences of vestibular stimuli fail to reach their destinations, they cannot adequately contribute to sensory integration. One result of depressed vestibular processing is hypotonicity (low muscle tone); when this system is not integrating information as it should and muscle tone is decreased, it is difficult to initiate movement or to maintain muscle tension during movement, resulting in significant difficulties in fine/gross and oral motor coordination.
The vestibular system also tells us where we are in relation to the ground, giving us a confidence that if we jump, swing, or somersault, we know we will hit the ground on our way down. Thisknowledge is called “gravitational security,”and with this basic sense of stability, children develop emotional security.
A child with dysfunctional vestibular processing, who does not possess “gravitational security,” tends to be inflexible, fearful and controlling due to the fact that he lacks control over the world around him and how he moves through it. This child often suffers from social problems as well, as he feels vulnerable to unpredictable situations caused by those around him. 

If I had to list the biggest areas of need for Cav - they fall under this AND um the paragraph above - gravitational security = emotional security.  Seriously, why am I just now hearing about this!!

So, we also thought insurance was going to pay for about 1/2.  Except our gold plated insurance got rolled over last month and what changed but the therapies.  We signed up for our sessions and then got the phone call that ultimately insurance was paying a whopping $5 per session.  I wanted to cry, cancel and say forget it.  HOW could we justify something that is so controversial, AND will be such a expense for the family.  In addition, I am happy to pay for medical things that work.  BUT I never want to get to the point where I am throwing money at a problem just to make myself feel better about me.  I really had to sit down and make sure that this was NOT what was going on.

Even after the first session, I am not entirely sold on the fact that we aren't doing that.  Thus the reason for me actually blogging.  But the last 2 paragraph's above (highlighted) push me along, in hopes that this is the answer.

We have 3 appointments this week, and then 2 each of the next 2 weeks.,

Day 1 - because of Cav's thumbs - using the laser wasn't the best option and needs to be reevaluated for tomorrow.  He enjoyed it, and tried his best.  By the 4th session we could see in his eyes he was losing it a bit (we were told to expect this).  We did get permission from the school for him to just miss class on the days he has treatment as we were unsure of how tired he would be.

I will update tomorrow.