Improve children's balance for improved reading & focus
Updated: Feb 26, 2019
Biles Research Group
There’s more to having good balance than meets the eye, sorry no pun intended. Having good balance allows someone to sit in a chair and focus on many school related tasks (reading, writing, copying work, test taking, etc).There are 3 things that we use for good balance, eyes, tactile or touch, and the vestibular apparatus or inner ear. Many children with poor balance are seen sliding down in the chair, fidgeting, moving, can’t stay focused, etc. Wait, these are some of the symptoms that a child shows that is labeled with ADHD. If an infant has numerous ear infections the vestibular apparatus may not be functioning properly. Also an infant that did not get enough proper crawling and walked too early may also have a poor functioning V.A. Walking before 11 months is too early. Proper crawling for 6 months is an integral part of their development.
Let’s create a scenario:
A child had ear infections as an infant and/or walked at 10 months. Now, in school is asked to sit in a chair, sit up and read from a book. If the vestibular apparatus is not functioning properly and they can’t anchor themselves down by wrapping their legs around the legs of a chair to give themselves good balance, the only thing left for balance and to keep themselves sitting upright in the chair is their eyes. However, they must use their eyes to read. What happens is they slide in the chair, lean on their hands, and may even fall out of the chair trying to maintain good balance. If asked to read, this same child will sometimes say the words are moving. Later that day the child goes home and the parents are confused as to why the teacher is saying that their child is having difficulty reading when at home he reads just fine. The difference is that the child is laying on the floor, couch, or their bed and reading. They’re not having to use their eyes to balance in a chair. The balance issue has been taken out of the equation at home.
Now that we’ve created a scenario that is all too common, let’s create a remedy for increasing balance and improving their ability to sit and read. To improve the functioning of the vestibular apparatus (V.A.) there are activities that can be done which are included in the IPM program. Also remember that there are other benefits from stimulating the vestibular apparatus (V.A.). Not only does it improve their balance, but it will also increase their memory and concentration by increasing the production of a neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. Once again, poor concentration, fidgety and the inability to stay focused are some of the symptoms of the dreaded ADHD. This is exactly what the IPM program can do for children. We have specific activities to improve balance and stimulate the vestibular apparatus.
Stimulating the V.A. improves balance but also encourages the frontal lobe of the brain to produce a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is used for memory, focus and attention span.. Another neurotransmitter that is produced is serotonin. This neurotransmitter is used for calming nerves, reduction of nightmares and their outlook on life is more positive. These are all more symptoms of ADHD.
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