Monday, June 27, 2011

Value of Walking

Recently a pilot study was published on the beliefs of parents and their children have regarding walking. Six parents and six children (GMCFS III or IV) participated in private interviews regarding social beliefs about walking. The qualitative analysis of the data revealed that parents felt that to be a "good parent" they needed to try anything to continue to have hope. If the parents stopped trying walking interventions this lead to guilty feelings.

Children considered walking more of an exercise rather than a functional task. The children also internalized negative attitudes towards disabilities.

The researchers concluded that rehabilitation providers need to make sure they are not unintentionally making possible harmful choices and how to best encourage families to make the right choices. They also recommend that the study be completed with a larger sample size.

Ask yourself these questions... Do you feel that by continuously encouraging a skill (i.e. walking) that a child may never be independent in, encourages negative attitudes in the child? At what point, if ever, are we demonstrating to the child that walking is "better" than using a wheelchair? Do we enable parents feelings of guilt by continuously trying new approaches?

I think that therapists have the best intentions to provide the best care that we can. Based on my experience I have seen children learn to walk independently at a later age so personally I like to offer that hope and desire to achieve walking. Although, in certain cases, I approach walking as more of an exercise rather than a functional means of mobility. What are your views?

Reference: Gibson BE, Teachman G, Wright V, Fehlings D, Young NL, McKeever P. Children's and parents' beliefs regarding the value of walking: rehabilitation implications for children with cerebral palsy. Child Care Health Dev. 2011 Jun 22. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2214.2011.01271.x. [Epub ahead of print]

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...