What is Vestibular Rehabilitation/ the Astronaut Program?
Vestibular enhancement has always been central to sensory integration practice. However, the importance of administering precise vestibular input that is integrated with specific sound and visual input is only beginning to be acknowledged. This approach taps in to the important interactions between the vestibular, auditory and visual systems.
Astronaut Training provides precise input to all five vestibular receptors, along with auditory and visual input to create a comprehensive treatment protocol that integrates these three sensory systems. Core activities provide opportunities for an adaptive response to sensory input, which completes the sensorimotor neurological circuits underlying all function. Guidelines are provided for safe, effective use of this protocol with clients of all ages and diagnoses.
Vestibular rehabilitation at Kids Matters OT is based on many of the principles of astronaut program (devised by Mary Kawar (OTR) and Sheila Frick (OTR) from the United States based on the training principles used by astronauts being prepared to go into space) combined with other theory knowledge from sensory-integration based theories and child-lead play.
A healthy vestibular system is important to all of us, not only astronauts! “Through the proper functioning of our Vestibular-Auditory-visual Triad the sights and sounds of our world become meaningful and entice us to move, explore and engage with objects, people and events. The vestibular system provides a perception of orientation in space that must be activated by the musculo-skeletal system. It is our internal guidance instrument working to tie the body senses, such as proprioception (body sense) and touch, together with the visual and auditory senses.” (Kawar MJ, Frick SM, and Frick R Astronaut Training: A sound Activated Vestibular-Visual protocol for Moving, Looking and Listening).
As a bridge between sensory processing and movement control, the vestibular system plays a major role in everything we do including looking and listening. Kids Matters OTs use the Astronaut Training protocol for improving function in the Vestibular-Auditory-Visual Triad. We find that it is very beneficial in improving movement confidence and exploration with children.
• For all children with over-sensitivity to movement (fear of movement, low confidence, nausea, hyperactivity after movement)
• For all children with poor postural control
• For children who seek excessive movement
• For children with coordination and timing issues.
Program length varies but ranges between 2-12 weeks, depending on the child.
How to access
To access Vestibular integration/ Astronaut training, call our admin team on 07 3392 6133 to make an appointment with one of our trained therapists. They will assess your child to determine suitability for the program. This is done in a clinic session as a paid Occupational Therapy appointment.