Son with low-tone- alternatives for longer walks
Subbing because we will soon be in the same boat with my 4 year old. He can still currently fit in our BOB stroller but that won't last forever and he can't walk more then a couple blocks. When I previously looked around, most people said they ended up with a (cheaper) wheelchair to use when the strollers were outgrown.
My oldest kid had a pair of Heelys, I wouldn't suggest them for low tone kids. She scared the crap out of me using them, I am not a cautious parent and she is quite the athlete with extraordinary balance! If he likes bikes, would a large balance bike work? They make Striders in a large size now and some of the wood, larger balance bikes would fit a 5 year old. Not for long though I'm guessing. DS1 (my low tone kid) could scoot along on his balance bike for hours when he would never be able to walk that far. DS1 has been able to transition to a regular bike with no training wheels and now doesn't want to use a balance bike anymore and I can't take a larger bike everywhere we need to go. Apparently riding in a stroller in his mind is better then using a balance bike. We've had the added bonus of all his bike riding is helping to strength his calf muscles which his PT loves. Frankly, I have no idea how he manages to balance so well on the bike when walking is such an issue but it must go back to all the balance bike riding he did.
I'm wondering about this too. My DS is 6.5 years but only weighs 37lbs so he still fits in a stroller. But this is embarassing for him if we run into any of his peers in the neighborhood. Another question for you ladies is when walking do you let them sit down as soon as they say they are tired or do you encourage them to walk a little bit more. I feel like there is a line between needing to get exercise and not being physically able to go on but I'm not sure where that line is. My DH on the other hand will never let DS sit in the stroller. I often let DS ride in the stroller holding his 2 year old sister in his lap. We aren't getting any PT right now because I can't afford it privately and the school system refuses to provide it.
I don't know. I am certainly not an expert on this by any means but as I've had the realization that DS1 isn't going to "grow out" of his hypotonia, I've been researching more and more and paying attention to references about older children with this. I figure we'll be there soon enough ourselves. DS1 is in PT has been off and on for a while. We finally found a good private pediatric PT so now we see her weekly. Like you, the school district offers us nothing for his low tone. We keep DS1 really active, he does play, run, jump like the other kids, his quality of movement can be poor, he falls and trips often. We enroll him in various physical activities that he can do well (swimming) and then ones that are more therapy like but he finds fun, ballet for example.
DS1 can do a dance class or a gymnastics class. He may not be able to do all the movements quite like another child can and he struggles with balance. I say all this because it leads me into your question. I know he has some endurance to be able to do these things. I also know that it takes a lot out of him, his body and muscles have to work harder. What I have noticed and what my PT echoed back to me, it is the activities where his muscles get a quick break, let's say gymnastics where he has to wait his turn or sit and listen to instructions, we notice the fatigue less. He is able to do a 50 minute class and not be drained. He can ride his bike longer as well because he can take short breaks like coasting. Walking is completely and utterly draining to him. It is the constant demand of one foot in front of another.
We have been told by our PT not to push it when we see that he is tired. I could ask for clarification if that is because she knows he is so active otherwise. I personally wouldn't want to at this point in his life, he is 2 years younger then your son, because that is when he really starts falling. I still struggle with it sometimes, like today after PT, on our way to OT, and I knew he tired from his session, we were late, and I told him to run. Which he did for about 5 feet because he went crashing to the concrete. I can't see him improving drastically in the next couple years to be to a place where a stroller/something still won't be needed. We think he has mild CP for various reasons but it hasn't be conformed yet by a neurologist. I see ourselves where you are at now. I know you have two years on me on this journey, but I guess I would continue to let him ride when he asks. A normal toned 6.5 year old boy isn't going to ask to ride in a stroller with his sibling. He asks because his body needs it. Or that's just IMO anyway!
Thanks Peony, DS needs PT and OT and I can't afford either. DS has bilateral motor coordination issues on top of everything else so when I read about your son swimming and biking I thought, oh wow we really need some help. My DS cannot ride his bike with training wheels very well and is pretty much terrified of it. My older kids are like fish and were on swim team for years. DS can't even doggy paddle.