Balance screening for babies
in children got very little attention until recently.
That is gradually changing.
I hope this information was useful for you.
Please share it to help other people.
Your president, Tania.
gives special attention to
children with permanent hearing loss
A 4 year project with the support of FWO
Of the 60,000 children born every year in Flanders, 1% will get a negative result at the hearing screening. About 20% of them suffer from permanent hearing loss.
Since June 2018, these children have access to balance screening. in Flanders, Belgium. Hearing and balance are situated close to each other in our head, and a hearing disability can also be a sign of limited balance. This is a step forward.
Early screening at 6 months is very important to detect these problems at young age and to be able to start the right therapy in an early stage. There's evidence that healthy children reach their motoric milestones on time, and that children with vestibular issues are lagging far behind. For example, a healthy baby can quickly raise the head; a baby with balance disorders cannot do that for a long time. Or imagine a child who crawls at 19 months instead of the average age of 10 months.
How does this screening work?
Everything starts with hearing screening (brainstem evoked response audiometry: BERA) at Kind en Gezin. If one detects hearing loss - for example a baby from a mother who was infected with CMV during pregnancy - the parents will receive a first brochure and they will be referred to one of the 25 Flemish reference centers for balance screening at the age of 6 months. This test (cVemp) lasts 15 minutes, with an special protocol for small children.
If this test also gives bad result, the parents will receive a second brochure and they will be referred for motoric tests, because the cVemp only tests 1/5 of the entire balance system.
If the third test also shows deviating results, a rehabilitation process will be started. The parents then receive a third brochure for @home, with tips & tricks.
Screening for balance problems at a very young age is enormously important for their later development. Even the children with disabilities eventually achieved their motoric milestones in this study, but with a considerable disadvantage in terms of time.
Because this research now focuses on children with hearing loss, they hope to reach the parents of other - at first sight healthy - children through their brochures and website. With this post I am trying to help them to raise awareness and to reach you all.
It is very important that you as a parent learn to recognize a balance problem with your child on time (the child may also have balance issues if it seems healthy at first sight). This is the reason why I am sharing with you the RED FLAGS from the brochure (see picture).
More info on www.VIS-Flanders.be.
There is a special page for parents but you can also read all the scientific papers and presentations. You will also find the brochures for download, the reference centers, the pediatric physiotherapists and rehabilitation centers.