South African Journal for Research in Sport, Physical Education and Recreation

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A review of the interrelationship between vestibular dysfunction, motor and learning diabilities and the rehabilitation thereof

A E Pienaar, J Botha, C Vermeulen, M Ballack


The aim of this literature review was to determine whether there is a relationship
between the vestibular functioning and neuro-motor development of children, if
deficiencies in vestibular function can be rehabilitated by means of a motor
rehabilitation programmes and what the nature of such activities and programmes
will be. It was also aimed to determine what tests are used to evaluate vestibular
function and to identify those that will have use in practical settings. After examining
130 articles, they were reduced to 41 from which the relevant information was
retrieved. A direct relationship was indicated between balance problems and
vestibular functioning, while poor motor coordination, postural deficiency, learning
problems and dyslexia were also associated with dysfunction of the vestibular system.
Different tests evaluating vestibular loss were identified of which some can be used
successfully by practitionars. Various programmes and activities were identified to
successfully rehabilitate vestibular function. For better understanding of the
contribution of the vestibular system to motor development of children, further
research on the relationship of the different semi circular canals with different motor
functions, the effect of rehabilitation focused on the functioning of a specific canal,
and the effect of different rehabilitation programmes on different vestibular
deficiencies are suggested.

Keywords: Vestibular dysfunction; Motor development; Learning disabilities; Posture;
Rehabilitation and exercises.

South African Journal for Research in Sport, Physical Education and Recreation Vol. 29 (1) 2007: pp. 129-146

AJOL African Journals Online