Jean Ayres observed that children who had difficulties coordinating movements on both sides of the body (bilateral integration) also often had problems with integration of vestibular and proprioceptive information as well as with sequencing. 

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Maintaining dynamic equilibrium while standing on the Balance Board trains coordination of the two hemispheres. It is impossible to stand still on the Balance Board using only one hemisphere at a time. This coordination enhance any other bilateral training which is performed on the Balance Board including movements using both sides of the body and vision exercises requiring the equal cooperation of both eyes.

Balance is a bilateral sense-just as we have two eyes for seeing and two ears for hearing, we have two vestibular organs for sensing gravity. In order to maintain our balance we need to coordinate the information being input from both the vestibular organs at the same time.

Frank Belgau made an observation that vestibular training enhances visual training...together with Jean Ayres' observation that bilateral movement problems are often accompanied by vesitibular problems, suggesting that all these bilateral functions might be interconnected. Basically, training one or more of theses areas together may be more effective and efficient that any one of them alone.

This in fact is what happens when a student is on a balance board: bilateral movement exercises and bilateral vision exercises (eye teaming) are more efficient when practiced on the Balance Board than when practiced in isolation off the Balance Board. 

 

 

In these exercises, it is emphasized that one should stand exactly centred on the board. This equalizes the inputs to both sides of the brain. The inputs are also equal when standing with two feet  - however, on the Balance Board the equilibrium is dynamic and needs constant attention and correction. This means that the brain must compare inputs from the two vestibular organs and adjust the posture to maintain exact balance.

 

It has also been noted that there is an increased impact on learning when a student uses their power foot to step on and off the Balance Board.

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Barb Drummond

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