Empirical evidence that some children with severe emotional and behavioral disorders exhibit a dysfunction in processing vestibular related sensory information is reviewed. Included are findings of deficient vestibular-spinal reflexes in autistic and schizophrenic children resulting in deficits in equilibrium and selected postural responses. Additional investigations have revealed depressed vestibular-ocular reflexes (nystagmus) and the absence of vestibular autonomic responses such as dizziness and nausea following vestibular stimulation. The accumulated results of vestibular processing studies with severely behaviorally disordered children have led some investigators to hypothesize a vestibular related etiology for autism. This hypothesis is discussed as it relates to vestibular processing dysfunction found in the developmentally disabled population. Treatment implications of a vestibular processing disorder in children with severe behavior disorders are briefly discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
- Occupational Therapy