Movement is Essential for Learning

How does my child’s ability to move affect her development?  This is a question I struggled with during Mel’s toddler period.  In college, I had studied development and learned about how crawling was important to the development of reading.  I had learned about how making kids with Cerebral Palsy crawl helped them develop.  This was in the late 1980 and that is what I recall learning as I completed my studies.  I knew that developmental milestones were linked.  I did not; however, know exactly how not rolling by 3 months or not crawling by 11 months or not walking by 15 months was going to effect Mel’s future potential.

Physically these developmental milestones were not possible.  How was this going to effect Mel’s overall development ie cognition and social progression?

Did you know that studies have shown that infants and toddlers spend over half of their awake time moving around their world.  That a walking infant takes more than “…take more than 9,000 steps and travel the distance of more than 29 football fields”  See link below.  By 11 months, Mel was not moving across 20 football fields every day.  At around 7 months, a child is learning independence and developing their identity by moving away from the parent.  At 7 month, Mel was rolling and with great effort and commando crawling but not to the extent I saw in cousins and neighborhood kids.   I hated seeing her stuck by the adults.  How was this effecting her identity and social development?

Kids learn to problem solve as they move.  They move into obstacles and have to figure out how to get around them.  They learn distance by moving toward and away from objects.  They learn social rules by interacting with others in the changing world of toddler movement.   Movement stimulates learning. Movement developes cognition. Movement provides opportunity for social development.  I wanted Mel to be “normal”  I wanted her to MOVE.

My strategy to help Mel not miss the opportunities provided by movement was to a make her move anyway she could, as often as possible and offer her movement toys.  I searched the internet and the stores and surprising found several toys that were hand powered. I was constantly on the look out for toys that did not need the legs to power them. I did not want the expensive power mobility cars/trucks but kid powered movement.  With these toys, I hoped to give Mel some of the movement her disability took away.  These toys gave Mel the ability to interact with others her own age and the neighborhood kids were drawn toward toys they thought looked “cool”.  She could trade toys with peers, move away from mom/dad and have fun inside and outside, just like her peers.

I posted about Mel’s medical equipment ie toddler wheelchair and toddler stander in the blog “Mel’s first Wheelchair” https://transitionalmoment.wordpress.com/2012/11/30/mels-first-wheelchair/

I completed the same type of search today and found many of the same toys still on the market.   The following are toys I purchased and adapted for Mel to use.  I often got large/wide, woman, flexible belts and fastended them to the toys with screw and velcro.  The Angeles Converto Hand Propelled Tricycle and Whirl-O-Wheel are the only  exceptions, they are new to the market.   The roller racer was not successfully adapted but I included it as I saw potential but Mel never had the trunk to move it and remain upright.

Amloid Krazy Kar Ride-On $70.00

Roller Racer – Sport Model (EA) $90

PlasmaCar Blue $50

Angeles Converto Whirl-O-Wheel Special Needs Hand Powered Trik $250

Angeles Converto Hand Propelled Tricycle $450

                kraxy car         ride on 1     images       Angeles-Converto-Hand-Propelled-Tricycle    images111

If you have found other affordable, hand powered, ride on toys, please let others know by posting the information in the comment section.

The following are articles I came across as I searched for developmental data

http://www.scilearn.com/blog/early-fine-motor-skills-cognitive-skills.php

http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/re/itf09percmotdev.asp

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4 thoughts on “Movement is Essential for Learning

  1. If you want an affordable trike for special needs kids and injured veterans of all ages and sizes, please contact AMBUCS. They are a non-profit organization that provides trikes for free ( as long as they are able to find a sponsor for it) or you can purchase it for a decent price. They may have local chapters in your area and they have a network of therapists that are trained to fit the appropriate trike for you.

    • AMBUS trikes are great. They have many uses. We have one at my school and we use it regularly. I wish they were not so heavy but then sometimes I like the kids having to really work those muscles.

  2. Pingback: Developmental Milestones | Roc School Psychology

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