The major objective of the article is to argue that our current methods of mobility assessment and rehabilitation are not adequate; we need to and must do things differently. We begin with discussing observational data that shows that mobility in complex environments is the norm rather than the exception. Second we show that current methods of gait assessment while providing depth of information on certain determinants of adaptive locomotion, do not provide insights into many other critical determinants. How mobility in complex environments can be assessed is discussed. Finally, we show that current mobility rehabilitation programs do not adequately prepare individuals for the community or home environments. Major findings on adaptive mobility from studying healthy young and older individuals, and individuals with various visual deficits and pathologies are presented and implications for both clinical assessment and more importantly rehabilitation programs are discussed. It is hoped that this will further encourage a dialogue between scientists and clinicians and creative solutions that improve patient care will emerge.
© 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.