Updated: Aug 31, 2020
Independent walking (walking at will and without assistance) is fundamental to learning. The onset of independent walking triggers immediate, significant acceleration in language growth; a pattern that is stable and is evidenced across cultures (He, Walle, & Campos, 2015; Oudgenoeg‐Paz et al., 2012). Toddlers’ walking experience significantly predicts both receptive and expressive language growth with walking toddlers having significantly larger vocabularies than their age‐matched peers who are not yet walking (Walle & Campos, 2014; Walle & Warlaumont, 2015). Researchers have hypothesized that the connection of independent walking to increased language is a result of the new experiences that bolster toddlers’ language development (He et al., 2015; Walle & Campos, 2014; Walle & Warlaumont, 2015).
Independent walking requires an ever-improving coordination of sensory input with motor output. Overtime, sighted toddlers become increasingly more stable, able to deftly avoid collisions as they seek out objects and others.
When toddlers who are blind attempt to transition from adult assisted walking to independent walking they are challenged by their inability to visually avoid collisions.