How to Support Vestibular Seekers

Vestibular seekers are desensitized to movement and gravitational pressure and crave sensory stimulation via constant physical activity. Seekers may seem to need constant stimulation. However, they tend to become more deregulated as they take in more input. Many seekers experience symptoms associated with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), such low impulse control, inability to focus, and behavioral problems.

See below for some ways to identify and support vestibular seekers.

Vestibular Seekers May:

  • Appear to have hyperactivity or behavioral issues. 
  • Constantly be in motion—running, jumping, spinning, or climbing on furniture, etc.
  • Love being upside down and spinning in circles, but never seem to get dizzy.
  • Engage in fast, impulsive, or unintentionally rough movement while playing.
  • Have trouble concentrating while sitting or be unable to sit still for even short periods of time.

How to Support Your Vestibular Seeker:

  • Play with sensory-rich toys such as swings, bicycles, and trampolines.
  • Provide a variety of seating options, such as exercise balls, or bean bags.
  • Use footstools or resistance bands around chairs to provide stimulation while sitting.
  • Schedule regular times throughout the day to run in place, do push-ups, or do jumping jacks. This can be especially helpful when transitioning from one activity to another.
  • Work with an occupational therapist to develop a sensory diet—a set of physical activities that can be done at home and are tailored to your child’s needs.

Keep in mind that no two children are exactly alike, and most people exhibit both seeking and avoiding behaviors from time to time. If you think your child might be suffering from sensory processing issues, you should seek a professional assessment. The STAR Institute’s Treatment Directory is a great resource that can help you find therapists, doctors, and community resources in your area.

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