Apr 29, 2014

The One With the 18 Month Old Who Can't Walk

I have a beautiful, healthy, amazing 18-month old who doesn't walk. For those of you who don't know, kids should pretty much be walking by 15-month so the fact that she's not walking by 18 months means that there is probably a reason and possibly something wrong.

She was delayed crawling so I knew she was going to be delayed walking but I had no idea it would be this delayed. She was actually doing great though despite that. She was cruising around furniture and we were working on walking with her. We were also helping her find her balance and stand on her own. She was doing great.

Then it all stopped. She refused to stand on her own. She refused to walk more than five steps with us. She was standing up at furniture less. At the same time she stopped talking other than dada and babble. She became afraid to go down the stairs and of bath time. All at once things stopped happening. And in case you don't know or haven't figured it out, regressing is not a good thing. In fact it usually means something is wrong.

Things didn't seem to get any better. We were constantly struggling to get her up and moving. She fought us every step of the way. But slowly she was becoming more willing again. She started talking a little bit more, stairs didn't scare her anymore, bath time wasn't quite so bad, and we could get her to walk more with us. We were nowhere close to getting her to stand by herself again or even walk independently but finally we were heading in the right direction. But the fact remained that we had an 18 month old who couldn't walk by herself.

So when we headed to her 18 month checkup appointment, I knew that her lack of walking or standing independently would be a major conversation topic. Which it was. We talked about where we were now and what had happened before. She called over to Children's Mercy to talk to some doctors over there to see what they thought and one of them wanted to see her as soon as possible. He is a developmental peds doctor but also specializes in neurology.

Honestly, we were expecting for her to be evaluated and we would be told that they recommended physical therapy. So we weren't too concerned when Rob couldn't make it to this appointment. However, I was still feeling the stress of it all, and driving there is pouring rain where you couldn't see didn't help. Once we finally arrived, we didn't have to wait long for her to be seen. Then we spent the next couple hours (yes, hours) talking about Addison and her history. Plus the doctor spent a lot of time observing her and asking question after question after question.

He told me that there was nothing physical wrong with her. Her muscles were a little weak, which is why she's so flexible but that's not the reason why she's not walking. She was healthy and developing the way she's supposed to. He wasn't sure what to make of the way she played however but reassured me that it wasn't autism. At around the same time all these regresses started happening, she started playing differently. All she wanted to do was hand me books (or whatever it is really), then after she had given me all of them she wanted me to give them back to her. And she will spend hours on end (no lie, she has an amazing attention span) doing this. The repetitive action can be a characteristic of autism but she had no other characteristics. The fact that she spends hours doing it is enough to rule out autism, but also she has amazing eye contact and interacts well with others.

But something made her regress. Something that he couldn't identify just by looking at her. Something that we would need to identify in order to make sure that she would continue to move forward and this wouldn't happen again. So the first thing we needed to do was a blood draw. Addison was less than pleased, but after the smart nurses started blowing bubbles which distracted her, she calmed her down. But that wasn't going to be enough to help us sort out the problem. The doctor said that best way would be to give her an MRI on her brain, which would be able to show if there was some sort of infection in the white part of her brain that caused the regression.

The good news was that she has started to progress again. She's been wanting to walk again. She's more willing to try. So that's definitely good. The doctor said that that's a good sign that whatever happened is righting itself. If she was continuing to regress or if he thought it was something serious (like a brain tumor which he ruled out) then she would be admitted to the hospital immediately and they were be running test. So he reassured me that whatever is going on is definitely getting better, but we still want to see if we can figure out what happened to make sure that it is either completely better or help fix whatever the problem was. He was honest with that he wouldn't be surprised if all the tests came back completely normal, but it was better to rule out things then just assume.

So that's where we are. Rob and I are working with her every day as much as we can getting her to walk. She is actually now venturing into the world is walking holding on to just one hand. She's still a little unsure of that but the fact that she's trying is a huge improvement. We are definitely on the right track again. I worry less about her than I did because she's progressing again and the doctor was very reassuring that it isn't serious, but at the same time confirmed that something did happen and would do what he could to figure it out and help her continue to progress. But I still worry about her, but seriously what parent doesn't worry about their kid?!


  1. You are such a great mommy Becca! It sounds like you are doing all the right things.

  2. I know it's so hard being a parent and watching other children younger than your child do things that your child isn't. You just have to keep reminding yourself that every child is different. You are doing all the right things in getting her checked out and I'm sure she will start walking on her own time. We compare ourselves and our lives to others and it only makes things more difficult. Keep doing what you're doing and realize that you have a special gift from God. Sending hugs your way. xo, Sarah @movingeastonwest



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