The term gravitational insecurity refers to the inability of a child to comfortably process shifts in the position of his or her head in relation to the ground. Children with gravitational insecurity require increased vertical movement gradually moving the head and body in varied planes of space and against gravity during playful activities.
Origins of Gravitational Insecurity in children.
Gravitational insecurity may be trace to oversensitivity of the vestibular apparatus, the cluster of sensory organs located in the inner ear that allow the brain to respond to changes in gravity. The vestibular apparatus helps the brain process motion, equilibrium and spatial orientation to regular balance and the sense of the body in space. When the head and body move through space the vestibular apparatus tells the brain which is down which direction the body may be moving and how fast. Consequently when their feet leave the ground, a child with gravitational insecurity may lose their point of reference and become unable to process their own body position or recognize whether they are moving or still.
How to help the child with Gravitational insecurity?
Occupational therapist can help to overcome the condition by training the vestibular apparatus to better process signals from the otolith organs. By using a method called sensory integration therapy, an occupational therapist may employ incremental sensory changes to help the child experience movements gradually, without feeling over whelmed.