Vestibular Function in Children with Neurodevelopmental Disorders: A Systematic Review

  • Ruth Van HeckeEmail author
  • Maya Danneels
  • Ingeborg Dhooge
  • Hilde Van Waelvelde
  • Jan R. Wiersema
  • Frederik J. A. Deconinck
  • Leen Maes
Original Paper


This review was performed to investigate the characteristics of vestibular dysfunctions in children with neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs). The majority of the included studies reported central and/or peripheral vestibular aberrations in a subset of these children. These alterations may result in symptoms of distorted motor coordination or postural instability, and might explain some of the balance problems observed in this population. However, high-quality studies with an extensive vestibular test battery are required to further characterize the vestibular function in NDDs since current findings are ambiguous and mainly based on evaluation of the horizontal semicircular canals alone. Importantly, since vestibular dysfunctions may result in comparable characteristics as found in NDDs, clinicians should be aware of these similarities when establishing the NDD diagnosis.


Systematic review Vestibular function Neurodevelopmental disorders Children 


Author Contributions

RVH, MD and LM performed the literature search and screening. RVH drafted the initial manuscript, and improved revised versions. All authors assisted in the interpretation of literature findings based on their own expertise, and critically reviewed and revised the manuscript. All authors approved the final manuscript as submitted.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Research Involving Human Participants and/or Animals

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Rehabilitation SciencesGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Department of OtorhinolaryngologyGhent University HospitalGhentBelgium
  3. 3.Department of Head and SkinGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  4. 4.Department of Experimental Clinical and Health PsychologyGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  5. 5.Department of Movement and Sports SciencesGhent UniversityGhentBelgium

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