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THE VESTIBULAR REFLEX - Balance, Auditory Processing, Visual Processing And Movement

Vestibular control is a strong sensation and has marked effects on the developing Central Nervous System (CNS) of children and the more mature CNS of adults. This reflex stays with us throughout our lifetime therefore.


The vestibular mechanisms are located in the inner ear and directly influence the CNS in terms of movement, hearing, vision, spatial organisation and awareness of spatial position and height. 


The purpose of the Vestibular reflex is to stabilise the body during movement. It does this by sending messages to the muscles around the neck and spinal cord as well as to the higher centres of the brain: this ensures that the correct changes in body tone occur and that there is an understanding of where the body is in relation to ‘space’. 


The head is a key player in triggering the vestibular system. In addition to changes in the muscles and joints, the vestibular system communicates with the eyes to ensure they are stabilised. This means they can help with balance and body awareness.


Children who have immaturity in any of the reflexes mentioned in this website will show signs of immaturity in the functions of the Vestibular reflex. This will present itself in challenges with balance, equilibrium, tone, endurance to physical exercise and co-ordination for sporting activities. 






THE VESTIBULAR REFLEX - Balance, Auditory Processing, Visual Processing And Movement

An immature Vestibular Reflex may lead to:

  • Non-moving and moving balance weakness/challenges.
  • Motion sickness.
  • Fear of being off the ground.
  • Attention and concentration challenges.
  • Emotional reactions.
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