Wondering how to get your support group talking? Sometimes it just takes presenting a topic to the group and starting the conversation with some questions to promote a lively discussion. You may want to query your support group participants to see what they’re interested in. Following are some meeting topic ideas that have worked for other support groups, some of which include a discussion outline. Information on some of these topics can also be found in VeDA’s many free publications. See articles in the “Understanding Vestibular Disorders” and “Living with a Vestibular Disorder” sections for more information.
Organization and orientation
- Why does this support group exist?
- What do participants expect from this group?
Types of Vestibular Disorders
Understanding the inner ear
- Identify the inner ear anatomy
- Explain the function of the inner ear organs
- Discuss the components of the ear that are involved with certain disorders
Symptoms of vestibular impairment
- Symptom management
- Is it helpful to track your symptoms with a journal?
- What is the difference between dizziness and vertigo?
Diagnostic Testing Methods
- What are the different tests and what do they measure?
- What does it feel like to go through the tests?
- How long will it take to get results?
- Tips to help you maximize your office/doctor’s visit. Click here to download a meeting outline.
- Vestibular Rehabilitation (Physical Therapy)
- Diet Modifications
- Occupational Therapy
- How does the auditory (hearing) system relate to the vestibular (balance) system?
- Hearing loss and hearing aids and hearing products
- Hearing loss prevention
- Vestibular and cochlear hyperacusis
- Tinnitus (What is it? What causes it? How can it be decreased or masked?)
- Understanding a vestibular disorder as an invisible chronic illness. Click here to download a meeting outline.
- Managing Fatique (dealing with fatigue, imposing limits on energy expenditure, planning the day to accommodate symptoms).
- Identifying certain environments that increase symptoms; making environmental changes at home
- Quality of life improvements
- Stress management
- Re-Prioritizing your commitments.
- Communication strategies
- Setting up support
- Ménière’s coping strategies. Click here to download a meeting outline.
- How does this change the family dynamics? What is now missing?
- Invite some family members to explain what their frustrations are.
- How to help family and friends understand
- What behaviors can you and family members change so that you can be more comfortable with each other?
- How does your vestibular disorder impact you during the holidays?
- Has this changed your relationship with co-workers? If so, how? Explore whether the need for a quiet environment makes you appear not to be a “team player.”
- How has this changed your ability to do your job?
- If you can still perform certain elements of your job, how can you successfully propose redefining your job to your supervisor?
- What equipment or work conditions would improve your ability to do your job?
- What accommodations are reasonable under the Americans with Disabilities Act?
- Allergies and autoimmunity
- Migraine and vertigo
- Balance in the elderly
- Cognitive and emotional impacts
- Vision problems (fuzzy vision, glasses, computer monitors, oscillopsia, Light sensitivity).
- Drugs and medications
- Natural alternatives? (relaxation techniques, T’ai chi, acupuncture)
- Disability claims (how to apply, how to handle insurance problems, how to keep good records, Social Security). Click here for an outline on items to highlight in a disability appeal.
- Testimonials (personal experiences; success stories)
Ask the group to relate a funny experience resulting from vestibular symptoms.