Understanding and modeling the gait patterns
of individuals with Down Syndrome
Contact: Beverly Ulrich (
Cheryl Drenning (
This project includes several studies funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The broad goal is to examine how mathematically modeling the dynamics of walking in persons
with Down syndrome (DS) can help us understand the strategies they use to accomplish this
functional behavior. In our studies we will be working with new walkers, following the
changes in their walking patterns over time, as well as preadolescents and elderly person
with DS. In addition, we are conducting validation studies and exploring options for
modifying the equations in order to account for behavior as precisely and accurately as
possible. By understanding better the walking strategies "chosen" by persons with DS,
we may be able to assist therapists in creating better intervention strategies.
Recently, we completed the first study in which we analyzed the walking patterns of
preadolescents with and without DS when they walked overground and on a treadmill at varied
speeds. Our data show that children with DS produce significantly higher levels of stiffness
and forcing than their peers with typical development (TD) when walking on a treadmill, at
all speeds. Yet, when walking overground, stiffness values are not different although
children with DS generate greater overall forces to maintain their body's forward momentum
(Ulrich, Haehl, Buzzi, Kubo, & Holt 2004).
If you would like to learn more about participating in one of our studies, please call
us at (734) 615-1494 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When calling, please request Cheryl Drenning and reference the Down syndrome modeling study.
The age groups with which we are currently working are: newly walking (starting when the
child can take just 3 steps), 8-10 year-olds, and 35-55 year-olds.
All Current Research