- 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.
- 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.
- 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.