Apraxia Monday: Stimulating your Kids’ Vestibular System

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By Leslie Lindsay

Last week’s “Apraxia Monday” was all about bouncing and boinging on a giant (supervised) trampoline.  Not only is it great fun, but also a superb cardiovasular exercise and a method to activate that vestibular system. 

But just what exactly is the vestibular system?  Well, according to an article at http://connectability.ca/2011/03/24/vestibular-stimulation-tip-sheet/, “vestibular stimulation is the input that your body receives when you experience movement or gravity. It can be mild; nodding your head or climbing stairs or it can be intense; skydiving or a rollercoaster.”

In SPEAKING OF APRAXIA (okay, okay…shameless plug), I mention how the vestibular system is useful in generating speech sounds.  You can find a good sampling onhttp://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/child-myths/200910/dizzy-delightful-or-irrelevant-how-did-vestibular-stimulation-get-so-much-at pages 164-69.

Does all of this Sound fishy to you, too?  (see also this Psychology Today article, ). 

I was in the same boat (pun intended) a few years ago.  Our evaluating SLP in Minnesota had encourged us to get our daughter on a swing “as often as possible.”  I looked out of the small window of her office.  There was snow on the ground.  I looked back at her like she had three eye balls.  “In this weather?”  I asked. 

“Well, yes.” She replied.  “Just bundle your daughter up and take her outside…or, you could get a swing to hang in your basement.” 

I didn’t roll my eyes, but I wanted to

Of course, this pediatric SLP was on to something.  Once I learned we were dealing with CAS a year or so later (now in Illinois with a different CAS), I became convinced that–at least for my little girl with CAS–the vestibular stimulation was a big piece to her overall progress.  Kate loved movement.  And it makes sense: CAS is a neurologically-based motor speech disorder. 

Five-plus years later, as we continue to recover from CAS I continue to receive catalogs from companies such as Fun and Function (www.funandfunction.com).  I am just amazed at all of the options that exist for famlies to incorportate “therapy” at home.  So, if you have the space (and an extra $60-300) and want to hang a swing-like apparatus in your basement, or your child’s bedroom, by all means be my guest.  It just may help your kiddos create some new words. 

Good luck!

Leslie : )

COMING UP ON 1/21/13’s “Apraxia Monday” interview with beloved pediatric speech-language pathologist Cari Ebert, CCC-SLP of Small Talk: Diagnostic Testing and Curriculum for Parents of Young Children with Speech and Language Delays. She has a special interest in CAS. You won’t want to miss this. Share with friends and family…let’s get the word out!

P.S.  I also like Hearthsong’s Hugglepod seen here http://www.hearthsong.com/hugglepod-sturdy-canvas-hanging-chair-with-removable-cushion_p401387.html and this one with lights!!  (my 7yo with resolving CAS saw this in the catalog and wanted it–not sure that her wish will come true…but it’s very appealing to her)  http://www.hearthsong.com/nylon-canvas-hugglepodhangout-with-led-lights_p421561.html

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