In general, for an "untreated" child with Down syndrome (one who isn't involved in vitamin therapy or neurodevelopmental therapy), the average age of sitting is 11 months, creeping/4-point crawling is 17 months, and independent walking is 26 months, which is twice the typical age [Winders PC. Gross motor milestone statistics. In: Gross motor skills in children with Down syndrome: A guide for parents and professionals, Woodbine House, Baltimore 1997. p.228.]
When do "treated" kids with DS usually walk?
From an independent poll I took among parents with "treated" kids, it seems that the kids who are in neurodevelopmental programs usually walk from 14 months with the average being 18 months old. By 24 months, all the children where walking unless other issues were found to impede progress. If your child is treated and you'd like to take this poll, please let me know.
- Keeping Nasal Passages Clear & Mouths Closed and Protecting Your Child's Hearing for details on how to address these issues.
- Issues with vision problems such as convergence (eyes working together) can cause vision problems that can mess with depth perception which can lead to fear of walking or inability to see well enough spatially to walk correctly. See Improve Your Child's Vision
- Discovery Of Altered Cerebella In Those With Down Syndrome Accounts For Poor Motor Skills, Coordinati
Steps for supporting walking
- Improve Muscle Tone
- Deep Pressure Tactile Therapy will help him be able to "feel" his limbs better thus will allow him to better control them.
- Your baby needs to be crawling first. Learn how to Teach Your Baby to Crawl Why? Because Crawling is More Important than Sitting, Standing or walking.
- Once he has perfected 4-point crawling (also called creeping), try these exercises to support walking:
- Sing "The Grand Ole Duke of York" and encourage him to stand up whenever the song says "up" and sit down when the song says "down". Keep his feet in line with his hips by holding his feet down and in line if necessary. Jett loves doing this and will initiate this exercise on his own. Try to do at least three times a day. (This is also helpful in diverting tantrums.) It builds leg muscles. Here's Jett's favorite version on YouTube. It has the lyrics on the screen as well.
- Stand him up against a wall and count with your fingers, out loud and with enthusiasm, up to one hundred. At each ten, I tickle Jett. He loves this and learned to count as an added bonus. :) Then have him take a step or two forward. (Lunging doesn't count, but give him a hug anyway.) This exercise helps with balance.
5. Non toxic toys that support walking efforts:
- Chomp and Clack Alligator Push Toy $35 (Jett has this one.)
- Walk N Roll $25
- Hopping Bunny Walker $47.98
- Haba Walker Wagon $149
6. Reward each step your child takes with shoes that squeak or light up when walking. Or you can enthusiastically count each step. For Jett on long walks, I sing, and every time he stops, I stop singing. He thinks this is so funny especially when I sing slowly if he walks slow or sing fast if he walks faster.