Walking is a skill that most people take for granted without giving it a second thought. Yet, learning to walk requires a long process that progresses over three to four years, starting with a few wobbly steps ending up as a controlled skill. Walking is the simplest way for a person to move. The whole body is involved from skeleton, joints, muscles, nerves, heart, lungs and many other parts of our bodies.

Children living with special needs can experience difficulty in walking for various reasons and must be guided and stimulated in taking their first steps. Once walking is mastered, it can provide children the opportunity to get around, socialize and interact with peers.

Walking can:

  • Improve bone density
  • Decrease joint contractures
  • Improve cardiopulmonary function
  • Improve digestion
  • Increase leg muscle strength
  • Decrease spasticity
  • Improve hip development
  • Promote physiological and psychological wellness

In a typical child crawling begins at about eight months, standing at 10 months and walking at 12-15 months.

R82 suggests that children living with special needs begin using their first gait trainer at around the same time that a typical child would start to weight bear on their legs in preparation for their first steps. Each person walks a little differently, however, the mechanical process is the same. This process in important to promote when teaching a child to walk.

Starting to Walk:

The child will put weight on one leg, lean forward to unbalance the body (the center of gravity falls in front of the body’s plumb line), swinging the other leg forward and placing it on the ground in front of the body’s center of gravity as it becomes the supporting leg, then followed by lifting the first leg from the floor and swinging it forward until the child is able to repeat the motion to create consecutive steps and begin to walk.

During Walking:

As the child walks, hips will rotate and the pelvis will tilt as body weight shifts from side to side and arms swing from side to side. Of course, many other motions accompany walking, all that occur in order to keep the balance of the body centered around the midline.

R82 walking products promote harmony, balance and rhythm, allowing a child living with special needs added freedom of movement and facilitates walking in an upright position. R82’s walking products are prescribed for a number of conditions and varying degrees of mobility, ranging from children who may need a minimum of support or a fully-supported upright gait trainer with specialized accessories.

R82 walking products offered in North America:

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