Basal Stimulation: What Is It?

Surely you've heard of multisensory stimulation and early care. But do you know what basal stimulation is?
Basal Stimulation: What Is It?

Last update: 05 June, 2021

The development of children’s brains is conditioned by the quantity and quality of the stimuli they perceive. For this reason, sensory stimulation is important in infants, especially in those with some type of disability. Although there are several ways to perform multisensory stimulation, in this article, we’ll focus on basal stimulation.

What is basal stimulation?

In the 1970s, Andreas Fröhlich created basal stimulation with the intention of supporting, accompanying, and facilitating the integral development of people with disabilities.

The word “basal” refers to providing a fundamental basis but, at the same time, without preconditions. At the same time, the concept of “stimulation” refers to the activity of providing very simple stimuli to the child to make them interested in themselves, in others, and in the environment around them.

Therefore, we can say that basal stimulation is a model of psycho-pedagogical intervention that offers the possibility of interaction and a personal approach, when, apparently, there are difficulties with communicative and mental functions.

A baby lying face down on the floor with his head up.


Modulating principles

According to social educator Carlos Luis Pérez, there’s a series of modulating principles that govern this model of intervention:

  • The principle of structure. There’s a series of rhythms that mark a person’s entire life, which offer us a certain structure. The most immediate is the biological rhythm, such as breathing or the beating of the heart.
  • The principle of contrast. This is present in all areas of the human being (movement-stillness, sound-silence, communication-distance, light-darkness). Experiencing contrasting situations broadens and enriches the child’s experiences.
  • The principle of balance: the professional presents situations in a structured way and provides contrasting experiences in a balanced physical and social environment.
  • The principle of symmetry: the child should have experiences that adjust to their physical self. For example, the child should receive as complete an image of their body as possible.
  • Personal interaction: the professional who carries out the basal stimulation must be motivated, involved, and show a favorable attitude towards the intervention.
  • The principle of latency: in the intervention, through basal stimulation, it’s important to introduce pauses to allow the child to respond at their own pace. It’s crucial to have patience while waiting for the response to occur.
  • Naturalization: development as a natural process doesn’t occur in a segmented way, but globally. The child regulates their behavior when they have to select stimuli. Intervention should help the child to carry out this self-regulation.
  • Individualization: finally, baseline stimulation should be based on the child’s individual history and background. In that regard, it’s important to apply a personalized and specialized intervention, taking into account the challenges and needs of the child in question.
A mother caressing her newborn's head.

About the main areas of intervention in basal stimulation

It’s important to note that, in basal stimulation, there are three basic areas of intervention:

  • Somatic: this refers to the ability to feel with the whole body through the skin.
  • Vestibular: the experience of gravity and position in space is part of the basic human needs. That’s because it helps to ensure balance and coordinate vision.
  • Vibratory: finally, this helps children feel the inside of their own body from vibratory waves. And, in addition, using the voice for vibratory transmission that can be understood as a bridge for hearing.

To conclude, these three areas are the basis for the good development of the other senses. At the same time, they’re closely interrelated with them. From these areas, we can propose meaningful and structured activities so that children can feel their own bodies, develop their own identity, and enter into a relationship with others and with the environment around them.

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  • Duch, R. y Pérez, C. (1995). La atención a los alumnos plurideficientes profundos: aportaciones desde el modelo de estimulación basal. En L. Arbea et al. (Ed.), La atención a alumnos con necesidades educativas graves y permanentes. Pamplona: Gobierno de Navarra, Departamento de Educación, Cultura, Deporte y Juventud.
  • Roller, B. (1999). La estimulación basal y la importancia de la comunicación para el proceso de la individuación. Barcelona: Editorial Balmes II.