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Go Straight
To travel in a straight line the child needs to use their left and right legs equally. Many times A child will walk in a slow turn due to contractures or strength differences. Training a longer stride with the weak side (or shorter with the strong) will help correct the weakness in gait. Remember that in normal gait the front wheels will "wobble" from side to side as the child shifts weight. Look for a trend to one side that needs correcting.

Work on Upper Body
Note head position and arm swing. Try to have relaxed arms swinging with the opposite leg. Look forward and see how still you can keep your head.

Set a timed goal for a set distance. A marathon (long distance) is better than a sprint. We need quality movement to be repeated many times. A sprint may be fun every once in a while.

Go on walks that increase in length. Keep in mind that you will not increase every day, and some days you may digress. Rests are fine, and the time it takes should not matter.

Timed March
Set a reasonable duration for a walk. Keep it within the attention span of the child. For example use an egg timer. Measure how far you have walked when the time is up. Maybe it is 4 houses from your driveway, or 10 parking spaces, or once around a track. Tomorrow try to increase the distance.

Go to the mall. The nice wide walkways are easy to navigate.

Use one or both hands to carry an object. A ball or book is a good start since it can have any orientation. Move to a cup and try to keep it from spilling. (The cup does not need to have anything in it.)

Set up cones or other objects for the child to run over and knock down. Turning is not easy since the child cannot turn either foot in the direction they wish to go. A big step with one foot followed by a small step with the other will cause a gentle turn. Sharp turns are accomplished by small side steps.

A sibling/friend or parent can tag the child in the TAOS and then "run" to a spot accessible to the child. There is a video on the website that shows a rough version of this play. The benefits are obviously social, but being able to direct the TAOS by turning and fully controlling the movement can be quite a workout. Remember that turning is different in the TAOS since you cannot rotate your hip and step sideways. In order to turn you need to take a long stride with one leg and a short stride with the other.

Catch n Fetch
Using hands while standing is challenging and beneficial. Have the child toss a soft ball to the parent. (overhand/underhand/sidearm) The child has new challenges during the throw to control the torso. If the throw is good the parent can catch the ball. It is also a good idea for the two can walk together to wherever the ball rolls. The better the throw, the more walking and exercise you both get.

Walk to school
Drive to the school 15 minutes early with the orthotic already on. Have your child walk to class from the parking lot with the rest of his friends. Once in class remove the TAOS and take it home with you. Some children (and the parent who invented this) really get a kick out of interfacing with peers in the morning.

Jump rope
Family/group activities are great. Get a long jump rope and a few jumpers. With the TAOS child holding one end of the rope and a practiced jumper on the other end let the games begin.
Here is a link to songs / rhymes my daughters jump to. VIEW PAGE

Meet a friend
Go outside to greet a friend or family member coming home from school. If you can't walk just stand in the shade and wait. A regular outing that the child looks forward to is a great way to make exercise fun!

Jog with a friend
Have fun and burn off energy so you can work on balance/direction later.

Crank the tunes and move. Fun and a good workout.
Special rule for this one : everyone must dance.

Activities - Walking

Special Needs child walking in TAOS system
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