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Stair-Walking Performance in Adolescents with Intellectual Disabilities

Department of Computer Science and Information Engineering, Chang Gung University, No. 259, Wen-Hwa 1st Road, Kwei-Shan, Tao-Yuan 333, Taiwan
Department of Adapted Physical Education, National Taiwan Sport University, No. 250, Wen-Hwa 1st Road, Kwei-Shan, Tao-Yuan 333, Taiwan
Department of Rehabilitation, National Taoyuan Special School, Tao-Yuan 330, Taiwan
Graduate Institute of Medical Mechatronics, Chang Gung University, No. 259, Wen-Hwa 1st Road, Kwei-Shan, Tao-Yuan 333, Taiwan
Graduate Institute of Early Intervention, Chang Gung University, No. 259, Wen-Hwa 1st Road, Kwei-Shan, Tao-Yuan 333, Taiwan
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, 5 Fu-Hsing Street, Kwei-Shan, Tao-Yuan 333, Taiwan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Panicos Kyriacou
Sensors 2016, 16(7), 1066;
Received: 21 March 2016 / Revised: 1 July 2016 / Accepted: 8 July 2016 / Published: 11 July 2016
(This article belongs to the Collection Sensors for Globalized Healthy Living and Wellbeing)
PDF [3937 KB, uploaded 11 July 2016]


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. View Full-Text
Keywords: intellectual disabilities; mobility; gait; stair-walking; motion sensor intellectual disabilities; mobility; gait; stair-walking; motion sensor

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Shieh, W.-Y.; Ju, Y.-Y.; Yu, Y.-C.; Lin, C.-K.; Lin, Y.-T.; Cheng, H.-Y.K. Stair-Walking Performance in Adolescents with Intellectual Disabilities. Sensors 2016, 16, 1066.

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