Vestibular Processing and SPD Part 2

Essential  Skills  Mediated by the Vestibular System

Visual system – coordination of muscles that move the eye balls.  This helps eyes work together to focus on:  a) the trajectory of moving objects as they pass through space and b) the perceived trajectory of stationary objects in the environment as the person moves from place to place.

Auditory system – coordination of muscles that act on the ear drum.  This helps to dampen loud sounds and  to heighten soft sounds so as to increase acoustic efficiency and overall attention to the environment.


Graviception – coordination of postural muscles that respond to effects of gravity.  This helps to activate antigravity muscles to prevent falls.

Visual – Vestibular Interaction  Impacts Children With SPD

Visual System – One of the more crucial ways in which the vestibular system impacts the visual system is through its’ networks that allow for visual pursuits.  The ability to coordinate and time moves of the eyeball muscles so that they work together to focus  upon,  visually sequence, and pursue targets, leads to success with  reading, math , and interpersonal transactions (such as conversations).

Additionally, organization of unique spatial arrangements of objects in space is another function that emerges from vestibular-visual integration.

Auditory system – both the auditory system and the vestibular system are influenced through incoming sounds.  Since the vestibular system impacts muscles of the ears and mouth, sound production, including language is mediated in part through vestibular interaction.  Both speech and occupational therapists have commented that adding vestibular input during treatment enhances outcomes.  Additionally  use of language related to spatial orientation (spatial language such as up/down or right/left) adds to the availability of vestibular-auditory integration necessary for cognitive support in dressing skills, math and sciences.

The Triad – Vestibular, visual, and auditory input are routinely integrated during daily activities.   The combination is commonly woven into sensory integration treatment and referred to as “The Triad” when vision, spatial concepts, and language are involved.



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