In June, I got a call from a Mum; ‘My 7yr old son is very anxious, is on the Autism Spectrum, and doesn’t really pay attention, but I have heard you may be able to teach him to ride a bike – I would like that so much – can you help?’
After a quick discussion to find out a bit more about her son, (whom I shall call Q) we arranged to have 3x1hr sessions here in Brooklyn Park. An invoice was sent to their NDIS Plan manager, and the social story was sent out for the mum and son to read together prior to the 1st session.
At lesson 1, I met Q and noticed that, yes, he did have a bit of trouble going through the each step approach I use for safety, but he did learn to correct way to get on and off the bike without getting tangled up and falling to the ground. Now to start the skills part of the lesson
My approach to teaching him the skills had to take a different slant when I noticed that if I didn’t get him moving soon he’d be ‘gone’ and not interested, so I ALTERED THE WAY I TAUGHT to achieve the outcome of Q developing his movement to gain speed and eventual balance. Over the 1hr session we used techniques both on and off the bike to demonstrate the desired skill; he completed the first 1hr lesson with my notes being: ‘Strong push in legs, able to follow instructions, into touching everything, need to keep focused; homework set’. Instructions were given to the family about what bike to look for.
L2. Q and his mum arrived and Q demonstrated his homework done, and I could see that he’d progressed and had attained the required balance understanding (all this despite him having had a cold since L1– the family still practiced when possible). I could see he was ‘ready’.
Within 10mins Q was pedalling his bike around the court area, riding with a proud expression on his face. After drying up her teary eyes, Mum was able to join in with her son riding around the area. No homework required – just go and have fun on your bike Q.
So, lesson 3: in came Q – riding across the grass, over to me and his grin was brilliant. After a greeting of hello, he said “ok, I show you this” (I do love it how, when kids have learned to ride, they now realise that they don’t have to hang around and talk with adults – they can just pedal away!) and off he rode, slowing down, speeding up, cornering, judging distances to the thrill-seeking centimetre as he moved his way around the course set out.
I was quite pleased and proud of the results achieved through the Ride-a-Bike Right techniques J and then Q’s mum said – “oh Lee-Anne you have no idea how this has changed our life. He has always had anxiety about going to school each day, and it was always a struggle but now each morning before school he goes for a ride around our unit, all the neighbours say hi and encourage him and his anxiety is so much reduced; and next we go to school. And now in class, I’m able to settle him in 5 mins and leave him for his day in school – 5 min….it use to take me 20 mins each morning. Do you know that I can go to work easily every day now? This bike has changed our life; I would never have believed it possible!”
…. And I thought I was just giving kids the freedom to ride a bike – little did I know how FREE it could make the whole family feel.