Motor skills make up the base of the learning triangle
The learning triangle comprising the vestibular, visual and auditory systems, all working together in harmony, are the important components of successful learning.
What is the vestibular system, you may ask? It is our internal global positioning system (GPS) that ties all our senses together – sight, smell, touch, hearing. A sensory structure that provides the leading contribution to the sense of balance and spatial orientation for the purpose of coordinating movement with balance. Take, for example, how disorientated you would become when free-falling and being weightless. A baby in the womb does not depend on its vestibular system for gravitational security until it begins to crawl, walk, reach and grasp.
Developing your child’s motor skills makes up the base of the learning triangle because it is the foundation for growth and learning. Without the important developmental milestones, such as rolling over, crawling, walking, climbing, swinging and talking, your child’s vestibular system can become weak and can cause a disconnection in the brain for future learning. Studies indicate that children whose motor skills are developed, and their vestibular systems activated with movement-based activities, are more advanced in intellectual development than their peers. If the body isn’t properly prepared or developed with the necessary motor skills it needs to get the right and left sides of the brain working together, your child can’t develop the other sides of the learning triangle.
Each component of the triangle contributes to all aspects of your child’s learning development in the classroom. They are the components of successful learning. Unable to function on its own the vestibular system needs to team up with your child’s visual and auditory systems, creating a triangle for learning. This results in your child understanding the relationship between sight, sound, objects and people.
The vestibular system activates your child’s postural muscles that stabilise his/her eyes on a specific target when the head and body are in motion. When your child’s postural control isn’t functioning correctly, your child may have difficulty copying notes from the chalkboard, tying shoelaces, as well as catching and kicking a ball. Your child may also struggle tracking words on a page while reading and may write letters backward. With compromised balance and coordination your child may see letters that jump, jiggle or may experience blurry vision. The correlation between the vestibular and vision systems also affects your child’s ability to move through his/her environment without getting lost, disoriented or hurt.
The postural muscles that the vestibular system supports, enable your child to process sounds more efficiently. This is because hearing sound activates all parts of the triangle – from turning your head, and to using your eyes to track where the sound comes from. Those muscles also contribute to your child’s timing, rhythm and sequencing for better balance, coordination, eye-muscle control and visual perception.
Without a properly functioning vestibular system, sights and sounds in the environment do not make sense – they are only isolated pieces of information disconnected from the meaningful whole. If your child’s vestibular system becomes underdeveloped, you may start to notice attention issues, learning challenges, emotional grounding problems and language disorders. You child will need professional, corrective support.