5 reasons why your child may not be able to pay attention- Vestibular System

In yesterday’s post I looked at the influence Body Awareness has on a child’s ability to pay attention. We have also looked at the influence of the Lower Brain and Primitive Reflexes. Today I want to look at the Vestibular System.

a balancing boyVestibular Processing

Our vestibular system gives us many automatic functions, such as keeping our balance, staying alert, having good muscle tone, and maintaining a stable visual filed. However, if we have poor vestibular processing it interferes with our ability to stay focused.

For example, it may make it impossible to “sit still and pay attention.” If you don’t understand this then you will be probably thinking that a child who is tapping the foot or making rocking movements is not paying attention. But in fact these movements are helping to “wake up” a sluggish system, whereas sitting still often results in zoning out.

Low muscle tone also makes it difficult to sit in chairs without slouching or slumping. We all know these kids and you hear people say “sit up straight”. The kid is probably thinking “I would if I could” or they are wondering why they are not like the other children and that’s not helpful either.

Our attention is additionally challenged if our visual field is unstable, since words may now actually move around the page as we read and write. And I am not talking about Dyslexia although it is convenient to think of it that way. But not useful.

Poor balance is also a distraction. For example, we may have to expend extra cortical activity just to ensure that we don’t fall off the chair, or we may need to even get up and truly move around (since it’s much easier to balance while moving than while being still). Let your kids move.

Balance Boards are a great way to help kids with balance. Go to My Shop for balance boards.