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!
Exploring the world beyond their own neighborhood gives children a sense of independence.
Never pressure children to ride a two-wheeled bike, consider children’s coordination and desire to learn to ride. Children develop at different rates, but most “typical” children can graduate from tricycles to training wheels between the ages of 4 and 6. If your child has special needs consider investing in a set of adaptive training wheels such as FATWHEELS so that they feel safe & secure while learning how to ride.
Children Under Age 10
This age group usually has not developed the skills to ride with traffic and should not ride on the street.
Make sure you and your children wear approved helmets
Children under age 7 should only ride with adult supervision even on the sidewalk.
Children age 8 & 9 may be allowed to ride unsupervised , but not on the street.
Unless you are riding with them, never allow children to bike in or around traffic.
Children over Age 10
This age group may ride on their own with proper training, but may need to be restricted to certain streets.
Explain that a bicycle is a vehicle and must obey all traffic signs and rules.
Street riding should depend on traffic, maturity, adequate knowledge, and ability to control the bike and follow the rules of the road.
Bicycle or walk all routes with your children to identify safe routes for bicycling between home and school etc.
At FATWHEELS, we take bicycle safety very seriously. Our adaptive training wheel kits are used in hospitals, school settings and by riders of all ages and abilities all across North America. We use only the highest quality materials for our products and back them up with 100% confidence.
I first met Rachael at a bowling alley. She is a support worker for people with disabilities and she was there with a client. At the time, I was looking for someone to work with my son and Rachael was highly recommended. Acquaintances told me she was a safe driver, filled out paperwork on time and was very engaged with her clients. She sounded perfect, so I walked over to meet her. I waited while she finished assisting a young man with his bowling shoes before I stuck out my hand to introduce myself. She extended her hand towards me and that’s when I noticed that she has no fingers. Yes, you read that correctly—the girl who drove to the bowling alley, helped her client with his fine motor tasks and filled out service logs…Has. No. Fingers.
“ …I cannot thank you enough the creators of fat wheels. For the first time my 11- year-old autistic boy rode a bike. They taught him how to pedal and maneuver at school using a special needs tricycle. So moving on to his 20″ bike supported by fat wheels was easy for him. Please pass on my gratitude to your company owners. You guys are not selling wheels, you are helping parents like me see what they never thought was possible.” – Vivek Saran Columbus, Ohio