Sensory Integration and Vestibular Processing: Why Is It So Critical?

By Zoe Mailloux, MA., OTR, Director, Pediatric Therapy Network, Torrance, CA Sensory integration and vestibular processing:  Of all the sensory systems that we talk about in sensory integration theory and treatment, the one that may be the most basic, yet the hardest to understand is the vestibular sense. This sensory system develops just a few weeks after conception and plays a very important role in a child’s early development.  It was also probably one of the most important senses for our evolutionary ancestors. However, the vestibular sense is not familiar to many people. Children do not learn about it when they learn about the basic sensory systems and if adults know about this system, they may only be aware that it has something to do with balance. Understanding more about the vestibular system will be helpful to a better understanding of the types of problems children may have as well as the methods we use to address these problems. As we…