23 Month Old Still Won't Walk

Updated on November 08, 2009
D.H. asks from Medina, OH
19 answers

Please help! If anyone has any advice, my 23 month old still won't walk. He has low muscle tone in his legs and he pulls up by locking out his knees then pulling his torso up with his arms. He is in the process of being evaluated by Help-Me-Grow, but there is about a month lapse between each meeting, and they don't evaluate HIM, they ask me a MILLION questions - does he do this, does he do that. Sometimes I'm not even sure what they're asking, and if he isn't doing that skill very well, I say no, because otherwise I feel like I'm lying. Anyways, so they make me feel like he's the DUMBEST kid ever - and that's not the case at all. He is so smart and he really picks up on things, and he talks about as much as most other 2 year old boys I have seen. He is such a laid back kid, I feel like he doesn't "want" to walk. After spending a weekend with his cousins, he is finally starting to "want" it and is making some progress, but I still feel like we have a long ways to go. Any suggestions? Advice? Encouragement?

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So What Happened?

He has been to two different pediatritians. We recently moved here. At our former residence (a different state even), he was being seen by the birth to three program (same as help me grow - an early intervention - a state program). His doctor wanted him to see a pediatric neurologist, but back at our old home it was a four hour drive and they couldn't get us in before we moved. So now I'm trying to get him in to one here, but they want him to see THEIR developmental specialist first, for their own developmental evaluation. (He has already been evaluated by developmental specialists TWICE). They said they won't even get him into their neurologist until NEXT YEAR. He has been evaluated by physical therapists, speech therapists, etc. He cruises fine, he crawled on time and did so normally.

***He is being evaluated by help me grow - but it has taken two and a half months so far and we're not even close to the physical therapy part of it. The waiting is so frustrating and you'd think they could give me some exercises to do with him while we're waiting.

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N.K.

answers from Cincinnati on

D., you need to get him PROPERLY evaluated by pediatric therapy specialists. I don't know where you live, but ABC Pediatric therapy has a few locations. I have heard they are good. Cincinnati Occupational Therapy Institute has superb pediatric therapists. You deserve to have a thorough evaluation that IS hands on- there is no other way about it. Best to you, let all of us know what happens.

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J.R.

answers from Indianapolis on

My daughter is a late talker and we've been going through First Steps. It's a state program and is usually free or a small co-pay based on income. I know they have therapists for motor skills like walking. We have a wonderful speech therapist that comes out once a week to the house. But a lot of therapists will go to daycare or the home, whatever works best for you and the little one.

My experience with First Steps has been wonderful. They never make me feel like I'm a bad parent and don't make me feel like something is terribly wrong with my daughter.

It does take a bit to get started but I think it's worth it:
https://www.infirststeps.com/ You first meet with an intake person then you'll get an evaluation will be scheduled with 2 therapists and then they make their recommendation for therapy afterwards. The program is for children under three.

Hope this helps.

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D.K.

answers from Indianapolis on

I've worked w/ lots of infants and toddlers as well as adults. There are simple things you can do to "play" but are actually engaging muscles that are required FOR crawling, walking, etc. Do you let him crawl lots WITHOUT shoes? These muscles in the feet and lower extremities are difficult to engage when encoumbered by SHOES. All the cute little boots, shoes, etc ARE cute, but MANY times restrictive and NOT comfortable for the child.

I showed this to someone just this week in the gym. The toddler was struggling to crawl. I took her boots off and off she went! Not extremely efficiently, of course, but she WAS able to get there. She'll get better w/ practice, but the shoes were holding her back.

If children/toddlers don't develop the correct muscles and "in the right order" it's hard for them to do other things. you DON'T want them to stand and walk before they learn to crawl WELL.

First ? I need to ask.......how long has he been crawling? Was he slow in getting there? How WELL does he crawl? Does he crawl w/ R hand and L knee or R hand and R knee? You may think this makes no difference, but it CERTAINLY DOES! Your gait pattern is R arm and L leg as you swing FWD. This has to be developed FIRST using shorter levers and closer to the ground for stability.

Let me know and then we can go from there. It doesnt' take long once you engage the right muscles. In addition, once they feel the "freedom" of being able to do this......they just take off from there.

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Z.R.

answers from Cincinnati on

As he gets older - and bigger - he'll need more muscle strength to hold himself up. Try exercising his legs while playing with him. Things like having him push his feet against your hands as you provide increasing resistance with your hands. The jumpers and walkers provide safe support but allow the legs to get stronger as they are exercised. Some kids are jsut afraid of falling.

I wouldn't panic yet. Kids develop at different rates. It sounds like he was motivated when he was around other kids that were walking. That may be a key for him.

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B.B.

answers from Indianapolis on

You need to find a pediatrician who is more responsive to your needs. Whoever it is needs to be pro-active, even aggressive with whatever comes up. I don't care how much of a "jerk" (meaning "lack of good bedside manner") someone is, as long as he/she knows what to do if something happens. I take my daughters to Northpoint Pediatrics (www.northpointpeds.com), and they've done a great job.

Now, I will tell you we have 2 daughters. They told us that kids will either talk early and "move" (walk) "late" or they'll motor around (walk) early and talk later. Our oldest daughter was "talk first/move later", and our second was "move first/talk later". Our oldest daughter just found she could get places quicker if she crawled. She would cruise around the coffee table a LOT (hold onto the coffee table, and walk around it while holding on). Meanwhile there are toys that will help "encourage" walking. There are all kinds of things that you can get to help him stand up and take a few steps and to try to strengthen his legs.

BUT do keep trying to rule out something more physiological or something. AND INSIST it's done immediately. Keep in mind the questions they're going to ask you are to try to determine what he can/can't do. They can't ask him because they won't get a decent answer, and they need someone who can give them a good answer. They aren't trying to make you feel stupid or like a horrible or inadequate parent - just to determine where he is and try to figure out a course of action.

He might finally have enough "incentive" seeing his cousins walking though - so do what you can to get him around his cousins.

For what it's worth....and good luck!

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J.J.

answers from Columbus on

You didn't mention taking him to a pediatrician for evaluation. My son was evaluated monthly from birth and every 6 months after he turned a year. The purpose was to make sure he was reaching milestones and progressing to levels that he should be reaching as specific ages. I would be concerned with the lack of muscle tone and the fact that at his age he should be running to get in to everything - jumping, climbing, running and especially walking. My son is now 27.5 months old and super active! He has been like this since learning to walk the week before his 1st birthday. I do not feel that my son is ahead of his age but right on target. Realize that comparing kids isn't accurate because everyone progresses differently but it just seems that you are noticing issues that are concerning to you and as a mother with our intuition I think you'd be better off getting involvement from a pediatrician that can send you to specialists if need be.

Best wishes!

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K.H.

answers from Columbus on

Have you taken him to the pediatrician? All three of my kids walked well before their 1st birthday, so i'd say you need to take him to the doctor for a professional opinion. A family at our church had a daughter who didnt walk by 18 months and her pediatrician had specifically said that 18 months was the absolute oldest they wait for them to walk, then send the child to a specialist to start testing for muscle disorders and things like that (which my friend's baby had). I say take him to a doctor ASAP!

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B.N.

answers from Columbus on

My daughter is almost 18 months old and just barely started walking a week ago. It wasn't until her pediatrition suggested we go to Children's and get her evaluated that she finally took the first steps alone - actually the day before they called to make the appointment! Like your son she did everything normal and on schedule, but would drop to her knees as soon as you let go of her hand. I wouldn't discount getting him evaluated and in my experience it was better to have our pediatrition write a "prescription" for an evaluation at Children's; the wait was more like a week instead of a month. BUT, also try not to stress yourself out too much over it because all children develop differently and children can also sense hightened parental stress and it stresses them out too. I let other people get me more worried than I needed to be.

Good Luck :)
~BN

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S.D.

answers from Cleveland on

Hi,

I'm sorry I don't have any advice on why he is not walking but I did want to say that I am also enrolled in Help Me Grow and have had a great experience with them. I schedule the visits and they can be weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, whatever I chose. My son took awhile to sit up on his own and they asked me several times if I wanted a physical therapist to evaluate him. I chose not to because I had a feeling it had a lot to do with his daycare. Once I moved him to a different one he improved a lot. I would definately ask Help Me Grow about being evaluated, I'm sure they would set up a time with you and there is no cost.

I hope you get some assistance with this and feel free to contact me if you would like to talk.

S.
[email protected]____.com

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A.B.

answers from Columbus on

Hi D.,

Sounds like you are under A LOT of pressure from everyone about your son! I always say go with your MOMMY INSTINCT, and if you really feel in your gut that something is wrong - do not stop investigating. Sounds like a pediatric neurologist would be your best route to rule out any underlying neurological issues. The condition you describe is called hypotonia (my son has it in it's most severe form - but he also has many complex medical issues). Hypotonia can be benign but there is usually an underlying cause that can range from minor to complex. We see neurology @ Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, and they have a "team approach" to evaluating children for the initial visit (which involves therapists, speech, OT, PT, social workers, psycologists, neurologists, etc.) - the visit is overwhelming but it is very comprehensive. The sooner your ped can make a referral (no matter where you choose to go) the better since it can take months and months to be seen!

Good luck with everything, and please keep me posted on everything. I am pretty much an expert with the whole HMG process and obtaining services, so anything I can do to help...just say the word!

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M.R.

answers from Columbus on

D.,

I think I would find a new pediatrician and sit in his office until you have the answer you need. What has been ruled out? If he is having trouble walking, then they should be ruling out phsycial issues before they concentrate on developmental issues, unless I am misreading your post, you seem to indicate that you do not have developmental issues, other than the low tone and failure to walk. Most global developmental issues have sensory, speech, social, etc, etc...not just low tone and failure to walk when all the pre walking development occured on time sounds like a big red flag to me.

Another concern, the help me grow program has had their budget cut to the bone, so you may not find the kind of help you need very quickly if at all. I help families advocate for thier kids with developmental disabilities, and your post is so unique (mostly for what is NOT a concern) so,I would just be the squeekiest wheel you can and get him in to see a pediatrican who will concentrate on the phsyical, not the developmental aspect of not walking.

M.

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E.W.

answers from Cleveland on

You never talk about doctors. I don;t know what help me grow is. WHat does your pediatrician say. Does he need physical therapy? You say low muscle tone. A doctor who specializes in this should evaluate him and then offer suggestions for at home therapy and other types of therapy. When he lays down bend and straighten his legs. Have him resist you a little. DO this everyday. It will help a little.

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S.Y.

answers from Dayton on

He needs to see a physical therapist, they can really help to build his muscles and teach you exercises that are play for him that will build his strength. You will need a referral from your pediatrician. You will want to get him in as soon as possible so they can start working with him to prevent further delays. I did a pediatrics rotation for my physical therapy training and we had a few kids with low tone that were able to gain what they needed and did not need further therapy. Good luck.

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S.P.

answers from Indianapolis on

Your pediatrician should have addressed this at least a year ago and there are strengthening exercises and therapies for any weakness in his legs etc.
You need to be pro-active for your son so that he will receive any help that is available in your area in a timely manner.
Check with your doctor/clinic for resources that can help and do not wait around.

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R.K.

answers from Dayton on

Might take him to see April Dunnington in Centerville. She's a great chiropractor and has a lot of experience with kids, she might be able to help.

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D.T.

answers from Indianapolis on

I've never heard of Help-Me-Grow but that sounds awful. Contact First Step immediately. Qualified therapists will come to your house for the evaluation (and follow-up therapy) within a week or so of making the first phone call. They will ask you questions, of course, but they will also be looking at your son and giving him a range of tasks to see what he's doing. If he qualifies for services (almost guaranteed since he's so old and not walking) then it's very inexpensive (and usually free). Therapy sessions are usually once or twice a week, an hour each time, in your house.

Going a month between therapy sessions is just nuts. What did your pediatrician say at the 1 year and 18 month well-baby visits about it? Most pediatricians will recommend seeing a physical therapist (usually through First Steps) if a child isn't walking by 18 months just to rule out anything. The sooner help is received, the better for the child.

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K.G.

answers from Cleveland on

D., Please don't let people discourage you. Your son is probably just as smart as you said that he is, and more. Some kids just prefer to take their own time doing stuff. My son, who is now 7, did not walk until he was about 25 months. There was nothing wrong with him. He just didn't feel like it. When HE was ready, he took off running. He did the same thing with potty training. He decided to potty train at about 24 months and never peed in bed, since. He is very intelligent and laid back. He doesn't let things bother him.Continue being positive and encouraging to your son. Be supportive but don't force him. He will, when he's good and ready.

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R.S.

answers from Terre Haute on

continue with the help me grow program. They should be able to give you excercises to work with him on muscle tone.
Does he has floor time?
do you have an excersaucer?
part of it is motivation.
Just because he has a developmental delay does not mean he is dumb. I am sure he intellectually on target. We all grow and development at diff. times/ levels. He needs more practice in this area.
See if you can get Occuptional and physical therapy.
Best wishes.
http://www.skillsforaction.com/?q=node/83
found this website on bing.com I typed in excercises for low muscle tone toddlers.

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L.L.

answers from Indianapolis on

My son wouldn't walk until 18 months. He used to lock out his legs too. I got into our early intervention program. A few people told to me wait (family, friends) but I knew he wasn't doing it the right way. He created bad habits (like locking out his legs) that kept him from walking! Sounds like your son may have done the same. My little guy is was very cautious and content with crawling or crusing for the most part. Early Intervention helped. They don't mean to make you feel that way or make your son look below the level he is at. Sometimes it takes more than it should to qualify them. Just stay on top of the paperwork and them to keep the process moving. My son was walking shortly after E.I. program not perfect but at least he was getting around. He now is fine at 26 months and even starting to climb ladders at the park with help! We did alot of knee bending and leg strenthing exercises in EI. At first i was like "arent we supposed to work on walking!?" but she knew what she was doing! :) good luck. lmk if you have ?s!

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