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Gravitational Insecurity

Gravitational Insecurity:

- Gravitational insecurity is a sensory integration issue which causes a child to react to movements in an extreme manner.

- Our relationship with gravity is our most important sense of security, and is linked to our vestibular system.

- A child with gravitational insecurity processes the pull of gravity as threatening, so everyday movement experiences, such as stepping down from a curb or getting into and out of a car can be scary.

- Your child becomes very anxious with these activities because they perceive small movements to be larger than they actually are.


Observational Behaviors:

- A fear of swinging

- Avoids escalators and elevators - Becomes fearful with any change in head position, such as when being tilted backwards or upside-down.

- Remember that not all symptoms are seen in any one child, and some are present in children who do not have gravitational security issues.

- These particular observable behaviors manifest from a hyper-responsive vestibular system.

- This means your child’s gravity receptors are extra sensitive.


Vestibular System:

- The vestibular system is a sensory system that is responsible for providing our brain with information about motion, head position, and spatial orientation.

- It also is involved with motor functions that allow us to keep our balance, stabilize our head and body during movement, and maintain posture.


Overcoming Gravitational Insecurity:

- Try a swing that allows your child’s feet to touch the ground, or hold them on your lap on a swing so they feel more secure during motion.

- Try distracting them with play and imagination during challenging activities.

- Sometimes adding weight, like a weighted blanket or jacket helps a child feel more secure.

- Allow increased time for new ‘scary’ activities, and help your child gradually engage with activities they see as threatening.


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