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late walker and medical intervention

933 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  sm3247
I need some advice. I have a 15 month old child who is not walking yet. I'm not particularly concerned about him walking late. He isn't particularly coordinated. He doesn't climb anywhere and he scoots on his butt rather than crawls. He doesn't cruise and he doesn't pull himself up. He's not interested in much that's out of his reach anyway and just doesn't seem to have an incentive to get up. When we try to stand him up he usually collapses his legs underneath so he doesn't have to. He's fallen a few times and I think he's a little scared.

A few days ago my parents were in town and while DH and I went to the store my dad "forced" him to stand up. Basically he'd hold on to his bum so that he couldn't sit down. Since then he's been standing more. He'll stand holding on to me or DH and yesterday he stood with no one holding him. He still doesn't like to walk, but he's definitely strong enough.

This hasn't bothered me at all until this week. We had his 15 month visit earlier this week, where the doctor said that he thought Jack had "congenital hypotonia" which translates in english to inherited poor muscle tone.

After doing some research it appears that this is pretty broad term that includes everything from kids with serious disabilities (can't eat because their muscle tone isn't good enough for them to swallow) to a "catch all" diagnosis for kids who walk late. the ped wants us to see a pediatric neurologist and go through a battery of tests the check for a serious congenital muscle disease.

DHs sister works at a fancy hospital in the neurology department and asked a few questions and got two entirely different responses. One was - don't worry too much at this point as 15-18 months is still within normal range for walking. If he's meeting his other milestones and has good fine motor skills there probably isn't anything wrong. From the other end we got "you should have test A done and if the X levels are high you should bring him here to the specialty clinic and if they aren't high you should bring him to another specialty clinic for further nerve testing.

My first response was "screw this, he'll walk when he's ready." I honestly don't believe that there's anything wrong with him and I think it's WAY too early to be flying him all over the country for special tests simply because he's not walking at 15 months. I talked to a friend who went through the same thing with her second child and she said it was incredibly traumatic for her and her child - especially because when it was all said and done they didn't find anything wrong and said "he'll walk when he's ready."

I don't know if I should insist on waiting until he's older and just give it some time or if I'm in complete denial and whatever is wrong (if anything) needs to be caught soon. I know there are other kids who walk late. Did anyone have to deal with the medical powers that be?
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15 months is still in the normal range for not walking. Nothing to get upset with just yet. However, if he has this muscle tone issue is there anything that they need to do with him right now? I mean what and when are the appropriate treatments. If there is basically nothing that must be done at this moment I would just wait and see. No need for invasive testing and treatment if it is unnecessary.

With that being said I'll just say this. My mother did not walk until she was almost 2 and she is perfectly normal. All babies develop at thier own rate. Intuition is a strong indicater of weather there is something wrong with your child. Just continue to listen and lead with your heart. You're on the right track. Good luck and keep us posted.
My niece didn't walk until she was 17 mos, and one of my friends' baby is 18 mos and is just starting to pull herself up. I agree with mama_kass - go with your instincts. Both of these ladies had their peds tell them something *might* be wrong as well.
If you feel in your truest gut that there isn't anything wrong with him, I would give it another couple of months. I think eighteen months is the upper limit of what is normal in regards to walking. Although 15 months is later than most walkers, I still don't think it's *that* abnormal. I guess what concerns me, and probably your dr too, is that he isn't pulling up, cruising, or seem interested in things out of his reach. It's not that he isn't walking, it's that he doesn't sound like he's doing much of anything with his legs.

I can feel you pain. My ds was only saying three words at 18 months. I was worried and people kept trying to reassure me that he was fine, because he is so bright otherwise. I was told stories of how so and so didn't talk until they were four and so on and so on. In my gut, I knew there was a problem. We had his speech and hearing tested, and although at 18 mo he tested at a 36 month old on fine motor skills and receptive language, he was at 12 months for speech. He has a phonological delay secondary to 'tongue tie'. We recently had the surgery to release his tongue and he is making progress.

Point is, you know your own child. I know it can be hard to admit that there may be a problem. Do what you feel is right in your gut.

Hugs mama!

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My oldest was just like your child. He didn't crawl until 3, but he scooted around on his butt (which actually uses way more leg movement & muscle than crawling), and was a late walker. Even when he could walk, he didn't like to pull himself up & that took a long time. And he too, didn't care much if something was out of his reach. He'd wait for us to get it.

We let him go at his own pace. He is ackward in his body that's about the only way I can describe it. He is gaining more confidence with age, but it's taken a long time. My other son is extremely physical so I have really seen the difference.

The only thing we found after he did start to stand and walk more was that his feet did not sit flat on the floor. Once we noticed, we took him to the podiatrist, got some orthotics and that made a huge difference.

Go with your instincts. I have found that people are quite uncomfortable with kids who "don't fit the norm" and are quick to point out all the horrible things that may be wrong, when in effect, it may just be the way they are made.

Good luck.
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there have been lots of threads on here about late walkers. i really wouldn't worry about it. you might do a search for the other threads to reassure yourself.

our dd didn't walk until 17.5 months. she did take a step or two earlier, but it was more out of desperation (i was out of reach, but just about two feet away so it didn't seem worth crawling -- she was crying while she did it). i think she's just a very cautious kid and didn't want to walk until she felt confident she wouldn't fall down. she was also very into the small motor skills early on. she's still not much of a climber at 2.5 and usually wants me to hold her hand going up and down the stairs or wants to be picked up. she _can_ do these things, though, and i'm totally not worried about it although a friend who is a occupational therapist mentioned the low muscle tone thing to me 'cause she saw dd doing her "silly walking" (she sorta leans and waddles and wiggles and splays, but it's all in fun) and thought she might really have trouble. i was slightly offended, but tried to explain she was just having fun.

i have a friend whose son did the scooting thing and didn't walk til about 17 or 18 mo. he runs and jumps and climbs just fine now at 3 years old. he's not super cautious like our dd can be, but he just took his time, too. he climbs all over the furniture and makes me nervous!

if i was in your shoes (and i sorta was, but i didn't have anybody telling me something might be wrong) i'd wait a few more months. i definitely wouldn't push anything, either. chances are he'll do it when he's ready. dd loved to "walk" with both of her hands held for months before she decided she could really do it by herself, but she would lean and sway and swing and generally not make any attempt to stand up straight. she just did it when she was ready.

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Thanks for all the replies. I'm torn between thinking we should just wait it out and worried that if we do so, we lose an opportunity to catch something earlier.

Jack isn't particularly coordinated, but his father and I are not either. We didn't expect him to be an athlete. On the other hand, he has a very refined scooting "method" and seems to be happy to get where he's going that way. Also, he has pretty good fine motor skills. From talking with other parents whose children also scooted this seems to be a normal occurrance. Most scooters seem to walk late.

Anyway, we talked to the neurologist's office over the phone and it seems they'll just be doing a basic exam, checking reflexes and evaluating his fine and gross motor skills. They've reassured us that nothing in this first visit will make it too scary or traumatic for anyone. We'll see what he has to say and take it from there.

(Minor vent: I called my mom yesterday and she took the opportunity to tell me that Jack is just "lazy" and we should just make him walk. After calmly explaining that we try to let jack develop at his own pace, she said that was a stupid attitude - when he's in school and not behaving was I just going to say "he'll behave when he's ready?" Needless to say, I lost my temper at that point. sigh.)
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