Treadmill for Students with Autism and Apraxia (TAAP)

Written By: Jenna Colton, DPT

I am excited to bring TAAP to the Boston Ability Center!

I recently attended a course called TAAP (Treadmill for Students with Autism and Apraxia) where I learned how to further utilize the treadmill during my physical therapy sessions to aide in improving children’s gait, coordination and visual motor skills. I then had the opportunity to educate my colleagues on the TAAP protocol during staff meeting where we discussed how all three disciplines: PT, OT and SLP can use this program to help children meet their goals.

TAAP is an eight-week program that integrates visual and gross motor learning with the use of a treadmill. This program was created by a school physical therapist who wanted to aide children in developing and improving classroom skills including visual attention, transitions, fine, and gross motor skills. Additionally, TAAP works to improve children’s academics including reading, handwriting, and mathematics.

I learned that TAPP consists of 6 sequences that become progressively more challenging as the child improves. All of the sequences involve the use of a mirror to provide ambient and focal vision, thus aiding in the fusion of their visual motor system. The sequences begin with forward and backward walking on the treadmill. As the child progresses, worksheets and ball skills are incorporated. For example, children will complete scanning worksheets to improve their reading skills while ambulating on the treadmill. Also, to improve coordination, children can play catch while walking backwards.

We are currently implementing this program at the Boston Ability Center. We are having children practice walking and running on inclines, walking backwards, and practicing ball skills while on the treadmill. Additionally, some of our Occupation Therapists are having children complete scanning worksheets while walking on the treadmill to improve their visual motor skills.

Here is a picture of one of our kiddos completing a worksheet!