The Astronaut Program

A Sound Activated Vestibular-Visual Protocol

Grace Occupational Therapy - Astronaut ProgramThe vestibular system is like the “compass” of our brain. It is a uniquely designed structure located in the middle ear that detects movement, and gives us an understanding of where our head and body are in space. The Occupational Therapists at Grace Children’s Therapy in Castle Hill have been utilising the Astronaut Program to treat children with vestibular processing difficulties. This protocol is used within our one-on-one therapy sessions in alignment with the goals, therapy plans and outcomes from occupational therapy assessments.

Children with vestibular processing difficulties have poor motor coordination skills, may be fearful of movement, awkward, clumsy, fall and bump into things. These children may have poor balance. They may appear to be “squirmy”, “fidgety”, or be described as the child who “doesn’t stop moving”. Children with vestibular processing dysfunction may appear to be “lost in space”.

Vestibular deficits are often found in children with delayed motor development, perceptual or attention deficits, learning disabilities, emotional problems, language disorders and autism.

Our vestibular system helps us understand the position of our head and body in relation to gravity. It tells us which way is up and where we are moving to. It helps us with balance, spatial orientation, and maintaining a stable visual image – even when we are moving.

Without our eyes working properly in conjunction with our vestibular system, visual information is not interpreted properly. This makes it difficult to read, write, throw and catch a ball, and participate in many activities that are so vital to proper childhood development.

The Astronaut Program treats vestibular dysfunction in children by using a combination of movement, sight and sound activities that are fun and appealing to children. The therapists at Grace Occupational Therapy have been trained in the Astronaut Program, and incorporate Astronaut principles into therapy to aid in improving movement, attention, concentration, balance and focus. The Astronaut Program is suitable for helping children of all ages and abilities to reach their full potential.