BLENNZ Learning Library

Te Kotuituinga Mātauranga Pura o Aotearoa

A 15 year old student learns to walk again


Teuaki walking in the clasroom

Figure 1 Teuaki walking in the clasroom

Teuaki is a 15 year old student at Homai Campus School. He has spent the last few years recovering from a brain tumour that has left him blind and with bilateral hearing loss.

Initially Teuaki was seated in a wheelchair with his legs crossed and his head resting on his knees. He was unable to hold his head up and was tube fed.

Lynette Spurdle, BLENNZ Homai Campus School teacher describes how Teuaki has been working to regain his physical skills.

In figure 1 Teuaki is walking in the classroom supported by the hoist and sling.

Teuaki on the treadmill

Figure 2 Teuaki on the treadmill

Learning to walk with support

Teuaki is learning to walk with support. He is walking with the hoist and sling and adult support in the classroom and on the treadmill in the gym. He is also walking with his arm gutter rolator supported by an adult. A gutter rolator is a walker that has gutters that the forearms rest in. It is used as a step before a walker without gutters for forearm support.

When the physiotherapist works with Teuaki she uses a walker without gutters to extend him.  In figure 2 Teuaki is walking on the treadmill.

Prerequisite skills

Teuaki standing

Figure 3 Teuaki standing

Teuaki has mastered the following skills:

  • Weight bearing
  • Able to maintain and adjust his balance
  • Standing with support
  • Standing with reduced support
  • Standing alone for a brief time and gradually increasing the time he stood for.
  • Increased muscle strength and physical stamina

In figure 3 Teuaki is standing with a little support.

Possible next steps

  • Further opportunities to develop his gross motor skills in Physical Education including swimming times.
  • Riding.
  • More opportunities to practise walking for a purpose with his walker and staff support (to the library, to the taxi).
  • Walking with reduced support by using a walker without gutters.
  • Walking using the rails.

Teaching methods and strategies

  •  Daily practice.
  •  Weekly lesson with the physiotherapist.
  •  Consistency.
  •  1-1 support from staff.
  •  Use of equipment that allows some independence.
  •  A team approach particularly with the physiotherapist.

Learning adaptations

Using the ceiling hoist and sling in the classroom and in the gym allowed Teuaki to feel safe and to have some independence while walking.  Having a walker with supportive gutters for his forearms also gave Teuaki some support for his walking.  At times allowance needed to be made for Teuaki’s health and energy levels.

Teuaki is given extra time to respond to instructions. Consistency of language and classroom routine allows Teuaki to be aware of what is expected of him.


Teuaki is highly motivated to move around. He has previously been a mobile young man.  His family are very keen for him to progress as much as he can with his physical skills.  The physiotherapist has provided information as to Teuaki’s physical progress and guidance for staff working with him.

Professional Readings and Resources

More information

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