Stair-walking performance in adolescents with intellectual disabilities

Wann Yun Shieh, Yan Ying Ju, Yu Chun Yu, Che Kuan Lin, Yen Tzu Lin, Hsin Yi Kathy Cheng*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

9 Scopus citations


Most individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) demonstrate problems in learning and movement coordination. Consequently, they usually have difficulties in activities such as standing, walking, and stair climbing. To monitor the physical impairments of these children, regular gross motor evaluation is crucial. Straight-line level walking is the most frequently used test of their mobility. However, numerous studies have found that unless the children have multiple disabilities, no significant differences can be found between the children with ID and typically-developed children in this test. Stair climbing presents more challenges than level walking because it is associated with numerous physical factors, including lower extremity strength, cardiopulmonary endurance, vision, balance, and fear of falling. Limited ability in those factors is one of the most vital markers for children with ID. In this paper, we propose a sensor-based approach for measuring stair-walking performance, both upstairs and downstairs, for adolescents with ID. Particularly, we address the problem of sensor calibration to ensure measurement accuracy. In total, 62 participants aged 15 to 21 years, namely 32 typically-developed (TD) adolescents, 20 adolescents with ID, and 10 adolescents with multiple disabilities (MD), participated. The experimental results showed that stair-walking is more sensitive than straight-line level walking in capturing gait characteristics for adolescents with ID.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1066
Issue number7
StatePublished - 11 07 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Gait
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Mobility
  • Motion sensor
  • Stair-walking


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