Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Walking Song

Filed under Autism, For Parents

family having funWhen my child started walking, of course I was thrilled! But I was also nervous about how he would handle parking lots and safety. He also gets too heavy for me to carry sometimes. So one day at Mommy Mixer, I let him walk from the car to the building. This parking lot is not busy at all at the time we are there. I know from being a music therapist that music and matching the rhythmic pulse to the cadence that a patient walks can help someone with Parkinson’s, Traumatic Brain Injury, or Stroke walk with more symmetry and speed. So I started singing a rhythmic song that matched my kid’s pace:

Walk-ing, walk-ing, walk-ing, walk-ing,

Holding Mommy’s hand.

Walk-ing, walk-ing, walk-ing, walk-ing,

Holding Mommy’s hand.

Holding Mommy’s hand, holding Mommy’s hand

Walk-ing, walk-ing, walk-ing, walk-ing,

Holding Mommy’s hand.

I used the song to help cue him to keep going when he stopped to pick up sticks or rocks and to reinforce the pace and that he should hold my hand. Singing also helped me stay calm and not feel like I needed to hurry and to not get frustrated at the slow, snail-like pace we were making across the parking lot. I repeated this song each week as we walked to Mommy Mixer and then sang it as we went on walks in our neighborhood or from the car to the park. Sometimes it worked really well, other times it didn’t. But I still repeated the song and we practiced as much as I had the patience for.

Now, after about four or five months of consistent practice, we walk across the parking lot very well, with fewer distractions. I still sing the song so that I won’t nag him to hurry up and keep going and stop looking at rocks. He now sticks his hand up for me to hold it when we go on walks. And I only have to sing it as a reminder or to continue to reinforce that he has to hold my hand or when I want to redirect him to keep going.

Do you sing to help your child walk or use safety rules?

Other Mommy Posts:

Mommy Support Group Radio Show

A Song to Brush Your Teeth By

How I Distract My Baby So I Can Complete a Diaper Change

A Song For Eating

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