What’s VPT and what does it have to do with what is going on in the brain of a Unique Learner?
I have treated every kind of learning disability, classroom disruption and behavioral problem. Over years of experience as an occupational therapist, I have seen countless unique learners improve their ability to learn.
These unique learners have had a variety of issues that plagued their ability to be successful academically.
When it comes to unique learners, it is clear to me that the difficulties can all be traced back to improper function in the vestibular, proprioceptive and tactile systems (VPT).
In school, we are taught about our five senses: Sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch (also called tactile sense).
We actually have seven.
The vestibular system, the proprioceptive system, and the tactile system are the basis for a functional sensory-motor system. They are the basis for a well-functioning human. Without these, we are at a loss to understand the world around us and we are at a loss to understand our ability to function in the world.
V- Vestibular system: Our ability to process gravity. This system is located primarily in the inner ear. It helps us balance.
P – Proprioceptive system: Our ability to detect the movement and actions of our joints through internal mechanisms. It provides direction, force and timing information to our muscles. For example, we do not need to look at our elbow in order to know if our elbow is straight or bent. This system is spread throughout the body, located in the joints and muscles. Any slight changes in the muscles or the joint immediately sends information to the brain.
T- Tactile system: Our ability to process touch, including pressure sensitivity, as well as temperature sensitivity. While we tend to think of touch being limited to our fingers, in reality every inch of our skin makes up the tactile system.
The correct development of the VPT is paramount to development.
The VPT is intact before birth and becomes very active during the first moments of life and the first stages of infancy. Research repeatedly tells us that these three systems play an enormous role in our ability to achieve emotional security.