Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Living on the edge

I've got a question for all you smart people out there. Any idea why Oliver likes to live on the edge so much? I mean quite literally. If we go for a hike Oliver walks right on the edge of the path, usually one foot on the path and one in the weeds. If we walk along a sidewalk next to a wall, one shoulder is usually touching the wall. If he is sitting in a chair he is usually half on, half off. The same with the couch. He usually sleeps with one leg hanging off the side of the bed. ... and all of this is only worthy of mention because, well, he falls a lot. Out of chairs, especially. You'd think after falling out of a chair so many times he would learn to sit with his butt securely planted -- but no! There is something to the feeling of being. ... precarious, I guess -- that appeals to him. So anytime we go someplace with a ledge or water nearby, I am always a nervous wreck, waiting for the fall. Of course, he doesn't usually fall in those places, but given his generally clumsy nature I often worry and wonder why he always needs to be so close to the edge.

Opinions, anyone?


  1. Well I doubt this helps much, but I used to sleep the same way, one leg off the bed, because it was my way of holding on to the bed, kind of hugging it, so I didn't feel so lost in the sea of my bed.

    I'm so glad to see you posting again.

    I wrote this comment once already, but my computer seemed to freeze and eat it. Forgive me and delete if you get both comments...

  2. Nothing concrete here but it does make me think maybe he is seeking some sort of vestibular input. Does he like to swing or be upside down, too? Might be worth looking into some sensory activities that give him opportunities to balance more?

    It may also be that he has vestibular insecurity? I know Nik hates NOT having at least one foot on the floor if he's balancing on a ball, for example. Or he MUST feel supported if he's on the swing.

    (disclaimer: I could be waaay wrong, too!)

  3. Like Niksmom, I was thinking he might be seeking vestibular input.

  4. Yep, it's a sensory issue. Our OT's here at work deal with this a lot. There may be something going on with the sensory processors of his inner ear that tell him how his body is moving in relation to the space around him. It's those same sensors that coordinate the movement of your head and body. (Perhaps that explains the clumsiness). The momofthreefeistykids is probably right that it's vestibular input he's seeking,


  5. Anonymous3:45 PM

    I'm also thinking vestibular input. My son does it too, to some extent. The chair thing is a big problem at our house, though his fear of falling keeps him plastered to the wall when he's in bed.

  6. I too was thinking it's vestibular-related. Definitely a question for an OT!

  7. Anonymous10:19 PM

    I would agree with Nik's mom.

    M is like this as well. She falls a lot and can even look "wobbly" when she walks. She gets dizzy very easily.

    I am guessing he feels secure on the edge of things, like he can see the line of the trail if he is walking along the edge of it.

    One thing that has helped M in this area is physical therapy for a time, deep pressure and we also took her to a foot doctor who created special shoe inserts that help her a great deal with her balance because we discovered her feet pronate which was making her even more wobbly.

  8. I have one who is clumsy (Brian) and the other two are very coordinated. Kaitlyn seems to be a lot like Andrew. Andrew likes to live on the edge too, but lucky for him and for my nerves, he is not one to fall.

    A lot of vestibular input may help. One thing I learned from an OT along the way is that the best way to reach the inner ear is to have the child in a horizontal position while moving. So, I will hold Andrew horizontally (cradle like a baby) and spin him around. He loves it, but I am not sure how much longer I will be able to hold him like this. Plus I get very dizzy. He doesn't though. Jumping on the tramploine helps Andrew a lot too. He much prefers to jump with me though. I was out jumping on the trampoline at 7am the other morning before school because he kept asking me "jump".

  9. Anonymous7:31 PM

    i have no idea but i DO know that 'likes the feeling of falling' is one of the questions on the OT questionnaires so my guess is sensory, vestibular and maybe even proprioceptive since being on the edge must provide much more input than not, ie, the body gets more information on the hard edge of the seat than if the fanny is firmly seated in the middle.