Balance is a complex process. When it is not working efficiently it can affect physical activities, learning and life in general. Avoidance behaviour can become a habit if a child finds things difficult and this limits their practice levels and their achievement. Balance and co-ordination are linked, particularly in relation to proprioception. Several persisting primitive infant reflexes have a direct negative effect on both gross and fine motor co-ordination.
The sensory motor system
Our balance mechanism is composed of three interacting systems that enable us to sense and respond to our position in relation to gravity.
- The vestibular system comprises a sensory response to our position and movement in relation to gravity. This is transmitted by the movement of the fine hairs in the semi-circular canals of the inner ear. These move as we move and send signals to the brain, in particular the cerebellum about our position.
- Proprioception is messages from the muscles and joints to the brain enable us to be aware of body position. In response to vestibular information, muscle action is activated to keep the body in balance. This is known as proprioception.
- Vision : The eyes work with the other two systems to to maintain head and body position in balance.
The integration program we provide works on all these aspects, as required, as well as primitive infant reflex persistence.