Sometimes a child is physically capable of riding a bike but they present with sensory issues. We turned to the team at Twenty-One Senses for some advice on how to navigate these challenges when trying to help your child learn how to ride a bike.
Your child becomes may become irritated or overwhelmed by physical sensations like the wind blowing in his face, uncomfortable safety gear, or the sight of objects whizzing by quickly. Some ways to help alleviate some of these feelings is to let your child pick out his own helmet and pads and add extra cloth or padding if needed . Always introduce new textures and sensations slowly.
Another issue may be your child’s inability to properly gauge the distance between objects, the different shapes of the street signs or how much force is being used to pedal or turn. In this case, practise telling the difference between the shapes of two signs, the distance between two toys, or whether she’s going fast or slow. Make it a game and have her try to “trick” you.
Sometimes the child is anxious and has a meltdown. Remember to be supportive and patient. Always make sure your child is regulated before you begin and allow them to go at their own pace. If she is hungry, overtired, moody or irritated it just might not be the best day for a lesson. Likewise, make sure that you are also regulated and have the time to totally focus on your child.
If your child is experiencing any of these sensory issues you may want to try to retrofit their bike with an set of FATWHEELS adaptive training wheels at the beginning of their journey towards independent riding. Leave the training wheels in the lowest position to start so that your rider feel safe and secure on the bike. As they gain confidence and overcome some of their sensory challenges you can slowly raise the FATWHEELS up so that they learn to balance. Eventually, you can remove the training wheels all together and work on having them ride on two wheels.
Keep your expectations in check and go slow. Over the years, I have seen thousands of children with conditions like Autism , Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and other challenges experience the FUN, FREEDOM and HEALTH benefits of riding a bike. I am confident that with a little patience and perseverance your rider will be added to the list!
Until next time,