Kids want to be just like their peers. For many children, riding a bike is often a very difficult task and may seem daunting or impossible for them. Working on bike riding may be beneficial for not only occupational therapy, but other therapy needs as well.
Bikes May Be Beneficial
Learning how to ride a bike is not an easy process for a lot of individuals. To maneuver a traditional bicycle, you must be able to let go of fears and have coordination, balance, and confidence. For kids with special needs, this may be too much for them to accomplish in traditional ways.
Companies like Strider have created bicycles for people with cognitive or developmental disabilities. The no pedal balance bikes allow many who were told they would never be able to ride the opportunity. Strider bicycles allow the rider to keep their feet on the ground and learn to balance in a more natural way. Children with Down syndrome, autism, balance problems, low muscle tone, and other medical concerns use these balance bikes with wonderful success.
Numerous Therapeutic Uses
Therapists are using balance bikes within schools with their students. They are able to utilize the unique bicycles in ways to work on goals while also rewarding the kids. The bikes not only allow the children to feel great pride in their new riding abilities, they also serve additional purpose. The balance bikes sessions increase muscle strength, range of motion, flexibility, and other important focuses related to gross motor skills.
When children are working on these bikes and having fun, they are unaware of the workout they are doing and how it is helping them. Speech and language sessions could also be carried out while using the balance bikes. Kids can share how being able to ride makes them feel and it encourages language pragmatics. School psychologists will be able to encourage children to get past their fears of traditional bikes to work on these and gain more self confidence. Getting past anxiety because of the special bikes that are lightweight and easier for children with special needs to use is
Schools need to consider purchasing balance bikes to use with students of all ages that may benefit from them. Multiple departments can share the financial burden by splitting budget line items between each department that can benefit from their use. It is also important to look for grants that are out there. In addition to this, encourage families to look for Strider camps in your area that help students to learn how to ride bikes over the summer. Strider also has their holiday Strider Gives Back Campaign where they give away seven balance bikes each day from October 13 to December 12. That means 490 bikes to special needs facilities and school that will use these with their students. Look at the details and watch for additional opportunities that may take place.