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Poor Balance Signs and Symptoms
This article provides helpful information on the signs and symptoms children may experience when they have poor balance. Integrated Learning Strategies (ILS) is a learning and academic center. As a reminder, ILS is not a health care provider and none of our materials or services provide a diagnosis or treatment of a specific condition or learning challenge you may see in your child or student. If you seek a diagnosis or treatment for your child or student, please contact a trained professional who can provide an evaluation of the child.
A child may struggle with balance and coordination and you would never know it. Even if a child appears to be good at sports, delays in balance are not uncommon. It is when balance issues begin to affect a child’s emotions, sensory and learning that signs of poor balance begin to appear.
Balance may not seem like an important part of development for children to strengthen when they are struggling in school. However, balance and coordination setbacks can directly impact how a child learns in the classroom.
Children with poor balance and coordination often struggle with attention and focus issues and fidgeting in the classroom. The child’s body physically cannot sit still in the chair during lectures, tests and exams because their body is not in a calmed state. Teachers may get frustrated when children cannot attend or when they see heightened and often unexplained behavioral outbursts.
In addition, kids who show signs of immature balance may also be delayed in reading. Many children cannot track words on the page or move their eyes from left to right as they read.
Because a child’s balance system is located in the lower areas of the brain, the child often lacks the ability to function at a higher level if the lower levels are not yet developed. Learning readiness cannot take place in the brain until the brain is fully ready for learning.
Balance is developed in stages overtime when children are born, which continues to grow if properly stimulated and supported.
Poor Balance Signs and Symptoms
We don’t always know the cause of balance issues in children. However, many delays in balance could be associated with missed milestones, trouble at birth, a traumatic experience or even a retained Primitive Reflex.
Many children with poor balance may display mild symptoms, which makes the signs easy to miss. If symptoms are mild, many schools deem children average enough to move along in the school system without further testing.
To have a better understanding of the signs and symptoms that come with immature balance, a parent or therapist may spot the following:
- Delay in achieving head control and other milestones such as sitting, crawling, and walking.
- Poorly developed muscle tone
- Frequent falls
- Avoidance/fear of movement
- Clumsiness – dropping or knocking things
- No fear of heights (under-active vestibular system)
- Excessive fear of heights (hypersensitive vestibular functioning)
- Poorly developed sense of body image – tendency to move too close to other people, accidents with other children, playground, etc.)
- Doesn’t know “how” to complete push or pull actions
- Difficulty modeling or initiating certain types of movement
- Motion sickness above the age of eight years
- Difficulty learning to ride a bicycle
- Inability mentally to rotate or reverse objects in space (for example, learning to read a clock)
- Postural Control
- Poor Coordination
- Control of eye movements (affects visual perception)
- Visual perception issues with sense of direction or physical discomfort when experiencing feelings like vertigo.
- Vegetative symptoms – for example nausea, dizziness, disorientation
To get a sharable copy of the signs and symptoms for balance, enter your email in the form below for the full balance chart.
Balance and coordination skills are easily improved with a few balance activities. There are many that can help beginners or some that can target different areas of balance. Using balance activities in therapy or in-home sessions are important and necessary for improving impulse control so the child can attend and focus on higher learning concepts.
Balance activities that may be helpful include the following:
If you find all the activities and exercises above helpful for balance, you may consider joining our Integrated Movement Center membership.
This resource provides members with monthly or annual access to activities that strengthen and support all motor skills, including balance.
Join other Integrated Movement Center members here.
Integrated Learning Strategies is a Utah-based center dedicated to helping mainstream children and children with learning challenges achieve academic success. Our services provide kids with non-traditional tutoring programs within the Davis County, Kaysville, Layton, Syracuse, Farmington, and Centerville areas. Areas to find Integrated Learning Strategies include: Reading tutors in Kaysville, Math tutors in Kaysville, Common Core Tutors in Kaysville, Tutors in Utah, Utah Tutoring Programs