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
Keywords: Vestibular dysfunction, Motor development, Learning disabilities, Posture,


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

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 0379-9069