Reference Data for Performances on the Standardized Walking Obstacle Course in Children Developing Typically


Physical Therapy

Document Type


Publication Source

Gait and Posture. Volume 49, Pages 398-401.

Publication Date



Purpose: To establish reference performance groups on the Standardized Walking Obstacle Course (SWOC) a pathway to screen ambulation for children developing typically.

Methods: SWOC tests ambulation under three conditions: walk (W), walk with tray (WT) and walk wearing sunglasses (WG). One trial consisted of standing up, walking the course in one direction and sitting down. Children (n = 355) completed two trials per condition. Trial measures included time to complete (seconds) and numbers of steps, stumbles, and steps off path.

Results: Trial 1 and trial 2 for time and number of steps are significantly different (p = 0.0005), but highly correlated (r = 0.93 and r = 0.96) therefore their average was used to establish reference data. Gender was not a significant factor. Age and height predict performances in all conditions, but measures between age groups were not always significantly different. Significant different measures by height groups could be established across all conditions, therefore reference data was established using three height groups.

Conclusion: Reference values will assist clinicians to compare a child’s performance on the SWOC based on an individual height because this can vary within and between ages thus screening for possible ambulation limitations.


ambulation, screening, standardized walking obstacle course, children, height