Balance and Vestibular Program | Overview
The Balance and Vestibular Program at Boston Children's Hospital was one of the first and remains one of the largest dedicated pediatric vestibular/balance programs in the world. Located at Boston Children's at Waltham, it was opened in the fall of 2011. Initiated by Drs. Greg Licameli and Guangwei Zhou, our program now has an expert staff with extensive training in both vestibular conditions and in all aspects of pediatrics.
The vestibular system consists of sensory organs in the inner ear that detect head movements. A child's ability to balance is controlled by his/her vestibular function, as well as by his/her vision and sensation of the joints and muscles (proprioception). Therefore, balance impairment in children can sometimes be a sign of a vestibular disorder. To ensure that a child’s gross motor skills develop correctly, diagnosing and treating suspected balance issues in young children is crucial. Additionally, many children and adolescents suffer from dizziness or vertigo (sensation of rotary movement), which can be very debilitating and are often a result of a vestibular disorder.
To deal with these difficulties, our program combines cutting-edge technology with caring, professional specialists. Our clinicians have significant experience in diagnosing and addressing vestibular problems, and in working with children of all ages.
Vestibular testing is an important step in determining the cause of dizziness or balance impairment. This consists of a number of laboratory tests that help to evaluate the function of the many different parts of the vestibular system. The testing in our program is administered by a licensed/certified audiologist, along with a trained assistant.
Our program director, Dr. Jacob Brodsky, along with nurse practitioner Meghan Corcoran, provides medical evaluation and management. Dr. Katie Fleischman, PhD, LP, a pediatric psychologist, joined our team in March 2020. She uses a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and biofeedback to help treat many patients with chronic dizziness.