In today’s “Tier 1 Interventions” episode, we dive into the fascinating world of proprioception and the vestibular system, exploring their critical roles in educational settings and academics. Hosts Cheri Dotterer and Jonily are joined by experts to unravel how these sensory systems impact learning and classroom dynamics. This blog post aims to provide a deeper understanding and practical tips for educators to effectively support all students, especially those with sensory integration challenges.

Understanding the Vestibular and Proprioceptive Systems

The vestibular system in the inner ear is crucial for balance and spatial orientation. It helps us understand where our body is in space. Proprioception, conversely, involves the sense of body position and movement, relying on receptors in the muscles and joints. These systems are foundational for movement and orientation, impacting everything from sitting in a classroom to engaging in complex learning activities.

Cheri’s Insights on Sensory Integration in Education

Cheri Dotterer opens the discussion with a vivid explanation of how proprioceptive activities, like running or hitting a baseball, engage the entire body and send critical feedback to the brain. This feedback is vital for maintaining focus and stability, which are essential for learning. Cheri emphasizes the importance of these sensory inputs, especially for students with learning disabilities who may require more sensory feedback to engage effectively with their environment.

Interactive Demonstrations to Enhance Understanding

During the podcast, listeners are encouraged to participate in simple exercises to experience the effects of proprioceptive and vestibular activities firsthand. One such exercise involves moving the head rapidly up and down while keeping the eyes closed, demonstrating how disorienting impaired vestibular function can be. This hands-on approach helps listeners appreciate the challenges some students face daily.

Strategies for Classroom Implementation

The episode is rich with strategies for educators to incorporate sensory-friendly practices into their classrooms. Suggestions include using movement-based activities like bouncing on balls or engaging in light physical exercises to help stimulate the vestibular system before tasks that require high concentration. These activities help prepare the brain for learning, making academic tasks more accessible.

Implications for Inclusive Education

Understanding and supporting the proprioceptive and vestibular systems can lead to more inclusive educational practices. By acknowledging the sensory needs of all students, teachers can create environments that support diverse learning styles and needs. This not only aids students with specific sensory challenges but improves the overall learning environment for all students.


This “Tier 1 Interventions” episode underscores the profound impact of understanding and supporting the vestibular and proprioceptive systems in education. Educators can enhance learning for all students, particularly those who struggle with sensory integration issues, by integrating sensory-friendly practices into daily routines. Embracing these insights will empower teachers to create more engaging, inclusive, and effective educational experiences.