Friday, February 18, 2011

Gravitational Insecurity

On February 8th, I shared how children with sensory issues can be classified as having sensory defensiveness, registration problems, modulation issues, and sensory integration problems. In that blog entry, I reviewed tactile defensiveness (sensitivity to touch), which falls under the category of sensory defensiveness. Today, I’m going to talk about another type of sensory defensiveness, specifically gravitational insecurity. A child with gravitational insecurity typically responds to movement activities with exaggerated emotional responses. This is because their vestibular system is not functioning properly. (For more information about the vestibular system, see the entry on Feb. 11th)
Gravitationally insecure children prefer to stay low to the ground. You will typically find them lying down or seated, trying to prevent any possibility of movement. Children with this type of defensiveness avoid most active physical tasks and may get upset when movement is required of them. To get a gravitationally insecure child moving, it may be helpful to physically guide them during play activities such as climbing, sliding and swinging. I’ve gone down a slide with a child in my lap, and sometimes, this provides that extra security needed to tolerate the vestibular input. Also, role-playing can also be beneficial, tell your child, “watch me to this, or do it just it the way I do,” then provide demonstration. If you attempt any of the activities suggested in the Feb. 11th post, be sure to stop if your child fervently resists an activity. Always introduce new movement activities gradually and in small doses, and ALWAYS stop if your child appears to be frightened or over stimulated. If your child has extreme responses to movement activities, I would recommend that you pursue occupational or physical therapy.

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  1. What a fantastic blog!
    My son has vestibular and proprioceptive issues, he's 5 and has been in OT and PT since early childhood. This site is so great b/c it's hard for me to describe sensory integration to family and friends and now I can just direct people to your posts for a great and very understandable explanation! Love the ideas you give to do at home!

  2. Just found your blog and love what you are sharing, so wanted to reciprocate with two ideas:

    If you ever want to do a guest post at OJTA, please feel free to send something to We love getting perspectives to share about SPD, ASD, APD, etc.

    I made some cards a while back you might find useful for the families you work with -

  3. hi dear,
    I have a kid with this problem. He is autistic with mild ADHD. Lately, I find him having problem with something swing or moving. would you like to share with me how to prevent this or getting more better then before... tq so much

  4. A witchdoctor hurls a bunch of shells on the ground. He peers at them and says, "You have broken an unthinkable and annoyed the hallowed bear that ensures your tribe." The youngster and his family inhale a murmur of help. Presently they realize what's going on and can set up the important penances. They begin to feel good.

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