Sunday, February 6, 2011

Product Review: Walking Wings

I wanted to review these awhile ago, but we had some big events happening around here. :)

I heard about Walking Wings from another PWS parent who said that they helped her son a lot with walking. Admittedly, I was curious, so I asked Jen, Dean's PT, about them. She said that she'd never seen them be helpful to children with special needs in regards to walking, but that they wouldn't hurt Dean and it might be worth trying.

The kind folks over at UpSpring Baby offered to send me a pair of Walking Wings to review here on DITW. They arrived quickly and in clean, attractive packaging. The Walking Wings are quite well made and I love the vibrant colors. They have two ways to use the straps so that you can adapt them to your beginning or almost-there little walker.

The main benefit of Walking Wings is definitely that they save the child's arms from being pulled on while you're teaching them to walk. In particular for a child with low tone, this is crucial, as their joints are more susceptible to dislocation than are most children's. Dean didn't seem to mind having the Walking Wings on and even liked chewing on the straps when I put him down for a minute and he was sitting on the ground. :)

In the back, there is a velcro/buckle closure to ensure that the child is safely strapped in the Walking Wings. The buckle easily closed, although the velcro was *just* about too short. I'm guessing this is because Dean is bigger than the average kid who is using the product, at 34" tall and over 27 lbs.

Even so, we put him in the Walking Wings and gave it a go. By holding the Walking Wings more or less, we could control how much weight we were letting Dean use in practicing walking. Other than that, I didn't really see any extra benefits in how it might teach him to walk. :/ At times, I felt that he had even less control than he would if we were holding him at the hips or other places on his body. I felt a bit like a marionette dangling around a floppy puppet. Sigh.

To their credit, UpSpring Baby does not market Walking Wings for children with special needs. I just like to see if products that are made for typically-developing kids can be used in some way for kids with special needs. In this case, I wouldn't say that Walking Wings could serve this purpose, but I don't have any experience with them to say how they would work with typically-developing kids.

Would love to hear other feedback about this product if you have used it!


Cathleen said...

We spent a ridiculous amount of money on a "baby treadmill" for Lilly that she used from 18 months to 2 years. It never really did anything productive; although the ideal of a pint-sized treadmill certainly sounded like it would have been helpful in making Lilly walk sooner. We stopped using it when we moved overseas (too much to ship it!) and she ended up walking at about 27 months - when she was ready. And as soon as she could walk, she could run - and fast! :)

Anonymous said...

My daughter has hypotonia and did not walk until 21 months. We had a similar experience to you with the walking wings - I felt like she was a puppet. I do not feel they made her walk any sooner.