Walkers, Canes & Mobility Aids for Cerebral Palsy
Four-wheeled walkers are for children who don't have enough mobility or muscle control to use a non-wheeled walker or two-wheeled walker. They help children move forward using their weight and also improve cadence, velocity, and help reduce the energy used. Similar to the other walkers, the four-wheeled walker comes in various sizes for each age stage. Some four-wheel walkers can be easily folded.
A two-wheeled walker comes with two wheels attached to the front of the walker and an optional resting seat, depending on the model chosen. For children who don’t have the stamina to stand for long periods, the two-wheeled seated walker is recommended. Similar to a non-wheeled walker, the child grasps the handles on the walker while walking, but wheels make it easier to maneuver around.
Two-wheeled walkers come in many different sizes for different ages, ranging from toddlers to adulthood. Some walkers can fold for easy convenience while traveling. For children with seated two-wheeled walkers, the seat often doubles as a chair during class time.
A non-wheeled walker, also known as a basic walker or a standard walker, works by having the child place their hands on the handle of the walker and hold on while taking steps. These walkers are more appropriate for children with normal arm strength, although all types of walkers require children to have at least a little upper body coordination and strength. The non-wheeled walker has four “legs” that generally have rubber tips to help prevent slipping. Most are height-adjustable.
Children with cerebral palsy often experience mobility limitation that can have a major impact on their quality of life. Kids with mobility limits due to DP may need assistance getting around the house, to school, and to other everyday places. The type of assistance they will need depends on how severe their disorder is. Sometimes using a walker, canes, or a stander is all that is needed.
Gait Trainers & Canes
Gait trainers are like 4-wheeled walkers with an attached seat that can be adjusted to specific angles depending on the needs of the child and their mobility limitations. Gait trainers are often used for younger children with CP who will later graduate to a 2 or 4 wheeled walker.
Canes are a type of mobility aid for children who don’t have severe symptoms in their legs but still need added balance and support when getting around. Canes are often preferred because of their ease of use, both indoors and outdoors, and their versatility. Many children with cerebral palsy can participate in sports with the help of canes.
There are a number of canes created specifically for children with cerebral palsy. The most popular type are the heavy-duty canes that come with rubber pronged ends to help reduce slipping. Many canes today are foldable, making it easy for children to put them away while in class or load them easily into a vehicle.
Children with cerebral palsy who stand for long periods of time may benefit from using a stander. Standers are specifically designed to allow people to stand for short to extended periods of time. A stander has numerous benefits to offer including enhancing muscle and bone development; promoting lower extremity use; and helping develop motor coordination and head control.