Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Walkin' the Walk

One of the biggest issues we've had since Owen started walking is his signature "flop and drop" move.  It comes out of nowhere on most occasions.   The worst part is that he can turn his body into limp deadweight which is embarrassing in public but also dangerous, as once he did it as we were walking in a busy parking lot.  It's also extremely frustrating to have to put him in a stroller all the time and see kids younger than Owen walking beside their family.  Hearing those little kids say "oh look at the baby" twists the knife in my heart just a little more too.

The other issue with Owen walking is that he doesn't really walk.........he runs!  And he runs fast.  He can be walking beside you and then just take off and you're left leaving whatever you're carrying or pushing behind to chase him down.  He laughs at you because he thinks he's funny, even when you're scolding him and trying explain why he can't run away.

It's a battle that I didn't really think about much until I was living it.  I've employed lots of strategies and some have worked for awhile and then we'd be back to square one.  So we started doing two things.  First we stopped using our stroller and secondly we offer him a bit of freedom by letting him walk beside us without holding our hand, as long as we are in situations where it's safe (parking lot is a hand holding venture!).  I have noticed that with some freedom he is much more willing to walk and keep the pace.  He doesn't dart off and can be corrected by saying "walk" if he seems to be heading into a run.  Without a stroller there, he has no choice but to walk on his own and can't just flop into it at any time.

He is off from school this week and he and I visited the zoo yesterday and an aquarium at the Mall of America today.  Both times he was given freedom to walk with me.  He selected the pace and got to be the leader of what we looked at both times.  We walked all 3 levels of the mall together and he probably walked beside me without holding my hand for 50% of the time.  I can tell him really enjoys that bit of freedom as he is constantly signing to me and looking at displays in the windows of stores, which is very hard to do if you're strapped into a stroller all the time.

The boy is growing up and while I'm sad about it, I really like seeing his independence and listening skills grow too.  We as parents of children with disabilities talk a lot about our kids "living in the real world" and that it's important we teach them what that means.  In the real world, people walk to destinations in a fairly orderly fashion, so that's something Owen needs to understand, practice, and participate in.  It may seem like a small "thing" in life, but let me assure you, in the long run, it's a big deal!

I'm kind of a big deal!

6 comments:

  1. Ah, yes...The flop and drop move. Russell was the master of that for the longest time! It was embarrassing...And he was veeerry heavy to lift, because like you said they can be dead weight. We have had to work our way through it as well...I am finding the same as you, if Russell is allowed to walk beside us without holding hands he does just fine. He stuffs his hands in his pockets and he just walks and listens pretty good. The odd time we have trouble with him wanting to go a different direction...But we're working on it. Any progress is good progress right :)

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    1. Progress is progress.......no matter how small or slow!

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  2. He's getting to be such a big boy! You should be a proud mom!

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  3. Ah the flop and drop or "boneless toddler maneuver" We still have that. Mostly in parking lots when it is most dangerous. We also have the spontaneous bolt. Also in parking lots. We are making progress slowly but surely.

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    1. Boneless toddler maneuver might be the best thing I've ever heard! Totally going to use that phrase from now on.

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  4. Colin still flops and drops now and then and he's 6.5 years old and has no disability! I love reading about all of Owen's progress. He's awesome:)

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