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Paroxysmal vertigo of childhood

LN2010 Community member Posts: 6 Listener
my daughter is 26months old. She has been diagnosed with paroxysmal vertigo of childhood and nystagmus. 
We are trying to learn about this and what it means from for her. 
I read it’s a neurological disorder of the vestibular system but wondered if occupational therapy helps with this. 

My sons have sensory processing disorder alongside their autism and have lot at of OT input into their care. 

I’m not sure if I’m mixing up the term vestibular. As my eldest son is vestibular sensory avoider. While the other son isn’t a seeker of all movement. 

Is vestibular used in a different context for my daughter? Could she also have SPD? 

thank you. 


  • Jean_OT
    Jean_OT Community member Posts: 513 Pioneering

    Hi Lisa

    The vestibular system includes the parts of the inner ear and brain that help control balance and eye movements. If parts of the system fail to form correctly or are damaged by disease, aging, or injury, vestibular disorders can result, these are wide ranging, with a diverse range of causes, treatments and outcomes.

    It seems your sons has been diagnosed has difficulty processing sensory information and thus avoid sensory input from the vestibular system, so as to minimalise the resulting discomfort.

    However, your daughter has been diagnosed with paroxysmal vertigo of childhood (BPV), a different disorder.

    BPV is the most common cause of vertigo in children and although the causes aren’t fully understood it is thought to be related to migraine. Children with BPV normally have their first episode by age 4 years, but can occur in older children up to age 12. The vertigo may last a few seconds and less than 1 minute. Children can become pale, sweaty, and vomit during the episode. There is no loss of consciousness or amnesia. The child is fine right afterwards and can go back to normal activity. The episodes might occur weekly or every few months and usually resolve completely in time. (source: http://www.childneurologyfoundation.org/disorders/vertigo/)

    Although the symptoms of BPV may be frightening for you and your child, this condition is not considered serious by doctors. Treatment normally involves providing comfort and support to the child during the BPV episode. The symptoms of BPV are typically short lived and most children outgrow the symptoms within a couple months to a year.

    Your sons, presumably, are getting OT input from a practitioner with a specialist interest in treating sensory processing disorders. It is quite possible that if your daughter could receive some Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT) from an OT, that it may help her to deal with her condition. However, the challenge may well be accessing it, especially if you are dependent on NHS services.

    You ask if your daughter could also have sensory processing disorder (SPD). I would advise that if your daughter is displaying the SPD traits that you are familiar with from your boys (or checklists such as: https://www.spdstar.org/basic/symptoms-checklist ) then it would seem wise to raise your concerns with her Paediatrician.

    Hope this helps to clarify things a little but please do post again if you have further queries.

    Best Wishes


    Jean Merrilees BSc MRCOT

    You can read more of my posts at: https://community.scope.org.uk/categories/ask-an-occupational-therapist

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