Paediatric Vestibular Physiotherapy is a treatment approach that is used, when vestibular issues have been identified.  It is often one component of your child’s physiotherapy programme.

Christine Jessop is a Paediatric Vestibular Rehabilitation therapist in Brisbane having completed competency training in the US under well renowned physiotherapists, Dr Marie Rine, Dr Jennifer Braswell-Christy and Dr Lisa Farrell, and highly respected ENT specialist Dr Sylvette Weiner-Vacher.

What is the vestibular system:

The vestibular system is located in the inner ear and is important for our muscle tone, balance, postural control, and eye gaze stability.  It detects linear and rotational movement of the head, and the position of the head with respect to gravity.  Information passes through a complex system involving the vestibular apparatus and various parts of the brain.  This results in movement responses that allow us to maintain stability of our visual gaze even when moving, and assists us in maintaining our posture and balance.

Vestibular Physiotherapy Brisbane

Why is it important:

In a child who has not yet developed postural control, balance and visuomotor skills, vestibular dysfunction can result in significant delays in development. Vestibular related developmental impairments include gross motor delay, postural and balance difficulties, and gaze stability deficits. Early recognition and intervention is vital for school readiness. Vestibular dysfunction in children has been associated with the following conditions;

  • sensorineural hearing loss
  • congenital conditions effecting the ears eg CHARGE, Pendred’s, Usher, Cogan’s Syndromes
  • brain injury / concussion
  • premature birth
  • cerebral palsy
  • myelomeningocele
  • developmental coordination disorder
  • posterior fossa tumour

  • cytomegalovirus
  • cochlear implants
  • paediatric migraine equivalents
  • chronic otitis media
  • ototoxicity from some chemotherapies / antibiotics
  • torticollis
  • scoliosis
  • autism
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What is Vestibular Rehabilitation:

Vestibular rehabilitation has been shown to be effective in improving gross motor function, postural control and balance, and gaze stability.  Recovery or skill acquisition is achieved through activities promoting adaptation, substitution, habituation, and / or motor learning, depending on the type and extent of vestibular dysfunction present.

Paediatric Vestibular Rehabilitation therapist

How can we help:

At Kids First Physiotherapy your child’s motor development, posture and balance are assessed to determine if there are any areas of concern.  Special vestibular screening tests are done to see if vestibular dysfunction may be a contributing factor.  If these tests are abnormal then a medical review is recommended and your child will be started on a vestibular therapy programme as appropriate.  Activities are best done as part of the daily routine in order to achieve the best outcomes.  Research has shown that a 12 week programme results in improvements in gross motor skills, balance and gaze stability.  Therapy programmes are based on goals identified by the child and family.  Parents and carers are provided with a management plan that can be incorporated into the home, day care and/or educational setting.

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