Pediatric Vestibular Disorders

Vestibular Disorders affect children

girl balancing on logWhen disruption of vestibular system function occurs in children it results in symptoms of vertigo or dizziness, oscillopsia or gaze instability, and delayed development or diminished balance and other motor abilities. Children who present with these symptoms should have a screening of vestibular system function by a professional who has completed specialty competency training in vestibular rehabilitation, or comprehensive diagnostic evaluation. 

The purpose of this three-part series for parents, patients and professionals is to provide a brief review of the diagnoses known to affect vestibular function in children, the incidence of these diagnoses, and appropriate evaluation of and intervention strategies. Specifically, we will discuss common symptoms and impairments experienced by children with vestibular dysfunction as well as valid and reliable clinical and diagnostic tests to quantify the extent of these impairments. Finally, we will discuss evidence-based treatments known to improve vestibular related impairments.

  • Part I: Incidence, Symptoms & Possible Diagnoses - Parents and pediatric health care professionals should be aware of the signs and symptoms of vestibular impairments so that referrals to appropriate specialists can be sought, enabling appropriate diagnosis and provision of appropriate interventions.
  • Part II: Assessment - Clinicians can use easy and inexpensive screening tests to determine whether a child should be referred to an otolaryngologist or audiologist for specific laboratory testing to determine whether or not the child has vestibular dysfunction. 
  • Part III: Treatment - Based on the results of screening and/or diagnostic testing, treatment - both medical and rehabilitation - should be prescribed.
  • ResearchMore than 1 in 20 U.S. children have dizziness and balance problems.  Read more about the epidemiology of dizziness and balance problems in children in the United States from the National Institutes of Health.

Youth Concussion - The Vestibular Connection Video

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