Thursday, December 9, 2010


I read somewhere recently that more and more kids are foregoing the crawling stage of life. Babies are spending less time on their stomachs than in previous generations because parents are putting them to sleep on their backs as a part of SIDS prevention. So babies go from being a baby blob to a sitter to a cruiser to a walker. No crawler.

For a long time, our physical therapy with Will focused on trying to teach him to crawl. Because there were 4 limbs to control and strengthen, Will seemed to get very frustrated very easily. But we always thought that you had to learn to crawl before you learned to walk. Our physical therapist proposed that we try Will walking and see how he did. We thought the idea was a little crazy, but decided it couldn't hurt.

Will was strapped into a harness and had his foot braces put on. The harness was attached to a treadmill, and then the treadmill was turned on the slowest possible speed. Our physical therapist moved Will's feet forward for him and he screamed for the whole minute.

But pediatric physical therapists and parents of children who need physical therapy are undeterred by shrill cries of protest.

So over the past several months, Will has worked harder and harder on walking. And he's REALLY making progress. Whereas he had no idea what to do with his feet when he first started on the treadmill, he is actually initiating steps on his own now. And that first minute? Well now that's just Will's warmup. When we were at PT this evening, he did 6 minutes and only protested the last 30 seconds.

If Will can work up the strength and coordination to initiate these steps now, who knows where physical therapy could take him! He could move on to using his dynamic stander more often, perhaps then graduate to a walker and even crutches! Maybe this doesn't seem so exciting to you, but to us, this is amazing! The idea of an independent, mobile Will warms our hearts. He might still have to work on holding up his head while he's walking, but that can be next week's therapy goal. For now, we're going to marvel at Will's admirable drive and sense of determination.

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