For years after she started walking, we could not stop her from toe-walking. It is also known as tiptoeing. Faith's sensory issues as an autistic child meant that she reflexively toe-walked in order to feel the floor better.
For the rest of us, getting a sense of the floor and where our bodies are in space is something we learned instinctively from a very young age. For Faith, this was not so.
So, just like I have to teach this mobile phone I am using to blog this, how to spell "autistic" because it is not programmed into its sms dictionary, we had to teach Faith not to toe-walk. If we did not improve her sensory integration, her calf muscles can shorten permanently.
Recently, we noticed that she was starting to walk feet flat without our prompting. Especially if she was out with us, wearing shoes. We've tried getting her to wear shoes indoors before, but she still toe-walked aggressively. This time, she was walking flat for long periods, without us having to press her shoulders down, or say "Faith, feet down!".
You can hear her flat steps as she plants each foot on the ground with deliberateness. It gives her an odd gait, as if each foot forward is an attempt in itself. One step at a time.
But we do not mind. We are delighted. After a long spell of not seeing any improvement in this area, despite all kinds of intervention, therapy, and even alternative treatments like acupuncture (yes, it does hurt if they insert the needle into sensitive spots, like the sole of your feet), we were almost resigned to her toe-walking permanently.
But our firstborn likes to surprise us. And maybe to remind us, that she has her own timetable and pace.
We can provide all the therapy and encouragement in the world. In the end, it is she who takes the steps. They are small, uncertain steps, and the journey is long. And we, her blessed parents, get to walk with her part of the way.