Preschooler and fatigue with walking -what to do?

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berryblondeboys
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28 May 2009, 8:19 am

We are still in the process of getting tested for everything. He has had an occupational therapist evaluation and he has issue with low muscle tone, muscle organization/planning and more. It explains a lot actually. We are working on a lot of skills, but the one I don't know how to handle is his fatigue with walking.

My son just turned four a month ago. He hasn't taken naps for nearly 9 months. On an average day he plays and jumps and moves around all the time, but if we take a walk, he just gets exhausted. On Memorial Day we spent an hour at a fair. We walked for an hour around the grounds... on the ride home he fell asleep and would NOT wake up. He slept fro 2-4 pm and then couldn't sleep until 1 am that night - waking at 7 am for the next day. Two days later we went to an outdoor outlet mall. It was empty of people and a pretty calm day and we walked for a couple hours, again, he fell asleep afterwards and napped for 2 hours and again couldn't sleep until 1 am. This disrupts him and me, so I really want to avoid naps!

But what should I do? Should I take a stroller with me so that when he gets tired, he can hop in? Or is that counter productive for his development? On top of that, he's REALLY big for his age (just turned four and he's 45 inches tall and 53 lbs), so FITTING in a stroller is a challenge. For our long, all day walks we have a bike carrier stroller thingee (Chariot Cougar), but am I expecting too much of him to walk an hour or two without hitching a ride? Or is it bad for his stamina to allow a ride?

He LOVES going out and about. He loves looking around and seeing new things, so I don't think it's because he's overstimulated, but maybe I'm wrong?



Cundrie
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28 May 2009, 10:12 am

Hey.
When I was a child walking was always terrible for me. At the age of about two it turned out, that there was a certain problem with my feet called skew foot and that I needed some inlays for my shoes. But this was only of little help and I continued to dislike walking. So for longer walks my parents carried me in an open stroller or a bicycle rear seat till I was about to start school and perhaps even longer. It didn't do any harm to me. Actually today I LOVE taking very long walks and when I do this there's almost nothing that can make me tired.
So don't worry to carry your child in a stroller if he prefers. Alternatively you can try make him ride a bike (or a training bike for toddlers) instead, so he doesn't need to use his feet. And finally: an hour of walking is quite a long time for a four-year-old and after several hours of walking through a shopping mall even a grown-up would be tired! If he doesn't seem to be uncomfortable don't worry. He'll be able to express his needs concerning the walks.



Xinae
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28 May 2009, 11:22 am

We have a red rider wagon that we bring to things like festivals and fairs. Our 2 y/o is happier sitting in it longer than she would a stroller, and our 4 y/o son, who has AS, can get in and out of it as he wishes during the day. He is also a big kid for his age and doesn't really fit in the umbrella stroller, so the wagon has been a nice alternative.



berryblondeboys
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28 May 2009, 11:45 am

As I said, for the long outings we have the chariot cougar which he and we love (way, way easier to deal with than a wagon), but that doesn't work for mall outings or outlet mall outings and we do these too and he poops out.

I guess he'll just smoosh into the stroller for a bit longer.



javabuz
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28 May 2009, 4:16 pm

we have one of those stand/sit strollers and we used it for my son up until recently (he is 5) and would probably still bring it if we went to an amusement park or something. Its good for him and we can also store all our junk in it (cooler, jackets, etc.)

It is much happier all around when he has access to the rest.



Aili
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28 May 2009, 8:06 pm

wow. festivals, fairs, and malls--even empty ones--are way way way over-stimulating for me and i'm an adult. i go to them but always plan to rest the next day. Otherwise i would say plan ahead. If a nap is going to get in the way of something you are doing, don't go out to a festival or mall the previous day.

or, how about nature trail? a walk in the woods on a lesser known path? trees have a calming healing affect.



jenny8675309
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30 May 2009, 8:14 am

We used the stroller as long as possible. I think he was 4 when he got out of it. As long as he fits, I say use it if he needs to. You can always put your stuff in it if he's walking.

Quote:
or, how about nature trail? a walk in the woods on a lesser known path? trees have a calming healing affect.
I agree, but strollers don't work in the woods. It's like pushing a shopping cart in the snow.



Mom_of_Lucas
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03 Jun 2009, 5:09 pm

Our son, who turns 3 in August, refuses to walk without putting up a major fight. We have to carry him everywhere or push him around in his tricycle (which he won't pedal on his own). I know he's clumsy and has low muscle tone, which normally would account for this, but he'll climb to the top of a huge slide and run around on the playground with no trouble. It's only when we're walking (in the grocery store or down our sidewalk, for example) that he protests.

I've been forcing him to walk as much as possible, but it seems like many of you just put them in strollers. Do they eventually outgrow this phase?

Thanks!
Emily



DW_a_mom
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03 Jun 2009, 6:47 pm

My kids each used stroller until age 5 or so. They don't know how to pace themselves yet and they wear out quickly. It's just so much easier to find a way for them to ride until they really "get" the pacing thing AND have developed some stamina for walking.

And they do develop it. For a while we had to take smaller and shorter outings while they got used to not having the ride option, but they built the stamina and it's fine. My AS son at 12 is a HUGE hiker. That's his "sport."

Also, one of the posters above had a good point about the environment often being exhausting all by itself. All the sensory stimulation at a place like a fair is going to wear out your AS child as well, until he learns how to pace that out in its own way.


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Mom to an amazing young adult AS son, plus an also amazing non-AS daughter. Most likely part of the "Broader Autism Phenotype" (some traits).


Kittygirl
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04 Jun 2009, 6:11 pm

If your son is tired after walking a long distance, ask his pediatrician if he might need a wheelchair. I started using a special needs stroller at 8 years old due to fatigue, then I outgrew the stroller and now have a wheelchair. You can get one for him through a durable medical equipment company with your pediatrician's consent.