Embark on the Journey of Balance: Vestibular Therapy Activities for Sensory Processing Disorder in Children

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) can significantly impact a child’s daily life, making it difficult for them to process and respond to sensory information effectively. Occupational therapy (OT) plays a crucial role in helping children with SPD develop coping mechanisms and improve their overall sensory processing skills. Here, we will explore various OT activities categorized by sensory systems and offer 5 examples of each technique:

What is Vestibular Therapy?

Vestibular therapy, a branch of occupational therapy, focuses on stimulating and strengthening the vestibular system through targeted exercises and activities. By providing controlled exposure to movement and sensory input, children learn to process vestibular information more effectively, leading to improvements in:

  • Balance and coordination: Reducing falls and clumsy movements
  • Spatial awareness: Enhancing navigation and object awareness
  • Motor planning: Improving sequencing and coordination of movements
  • Sensory integration: Integrating vestibular information with other senses
  • Focus and attention: Increasing concentration and reducing distractibility

5 Examples of Vestibular Therapy Activities:


  • Description: Swinging gently back and forth provides linear and rotational vestibular input, promoting balance and calming the nervous system.
  • Examples: Using a swing set, rocking on a rocking chair, or swaying in a hammock.

Head tilts and rolls:

  • Description: Tilting and rolling the head stimulates the vestibular system and can help improve balance and spatial awareness.
  • Examples: Performing head tilts in various directions, rolling the head in circles, or nodding and shaking the head.

Tactile Activities:

These activities focus on the tactile system, which helps us perceive touch and texture.

  • Play dough: Provides tactile and motor stimulation.
  • Finger painting: Encourages tactile exploration and creativity.
  • Sand play: Offers different textures and promotes sensory exploration.
  • Touch therapy: Gentle touch can be calming and comforting for some children.
  • Sensory brushing: Provides deep pressure input and can be calming and organizing.

Balance board activities:

  • Description: Standing on a wobble board or balance ball challenges the vestibular system and strengthens core muscles.
  • Examples: Balancing on a wobble board with one or two feet, bouncing on a therapy ball, or playing games that involve balancing on different surfaces.

Obstacle courses:

  • Description: Navigating obstacle courses encourages movement, coordination, and spatial awareness, providing vestibular and proprioceptive input.
  • Examples: Building an obstacle course with pillows, blankets, chairs, and tunnels, playing games like Simon Says with movement challenges, or participating in organized obstacle course activities.

Animal walks:

  • Description: Imitating animal movements like bear crawls, crab walks, and frog jumps provides vestibular stimulation and strengthens muscles.
  • Examples: Crawling like a bear on hands and knees, walking sideways like a crab, jumping like a frog, or incorporating animal walks into games and play.

Additional Tips for Vestibular Therapy:

  • Start slow and gradually increase the intensity of activities.
  • Provide verbal cues and visual aids to support children’s understanding.
  • Focus on making activities fun and engaging to maintain motivation.
  • Be patient and consistent with therapy sessions.
  • Work with a qualified occupational therapist to develop a personalized treatment plan.

By incorporating these vestibular therapy activities into daily life, children with SPD can develop the skills and confidence they need to navigate their sensory world, ultimately improving their overall well-being and quality of life. Remember, every child is unique, and what works for one child may not work for another. Consult a qualified occupational therapist to tailor a program specifically for your child’s needs.

Additional Resources for Parents:

How Dr. Sumeet Dhawan Can Help:


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