Special Needs and Strider Bikes
Strider started making balance bikes in 2007, and a few years ago we started making larger sizes for older children and adults with balance and coordination challenges. Now, individuals of all ages and abilities can ride! The bikes have opened up a new world of opportunities for many folks who never thought they could ride a bike, like David, who has Down syndrome. A bit of his story is shared below.
Strider Bikes break down the overwhelming task of learning how to ride into a safe and natural progression; it's as easy as walking. With feet safely on the ground, a rider is easily able to maneuver and ride our lightweight bikes.
This year, the Governor of South Dakota presented Strider with a Distinguished Service Award for helping individuals with special needs. In addition, Strider has worked with organizations such as Special Olympics, National Down Syndrome Society, the STAR Institute for Sensory Processing Disorder and Autism Speaks in Colorado, the name just a few. Strider also includes Special Needs Races at their national Strider Cup Races.
To Parents Who Think Their Kid Will Never Ride a Bike
After his mom Mona learned about Strider Bikes, she got one for her son, David. He took a Strider Camp and eventually transitioned to a pedal bike.
“When he was little, we never thought he’d ever ride a two-wheeled bike. Like typical parents, we bought a tricycle, then tried a bike with training wheels and never thought beyond that…"
Now, David helps his mom teach others to ride at Strider Camps through their local Special Olympics program.
“It’s changed his whole dynamic. Besides improved balance and coordination, he’s more confident and social with peers and adults. He’s excelling at dance, track, and even his physical endurance has improved.” (full article here on TheMighty.com)
Special Education Teacher Weighs In
Amy Heuston Speidel, a special education teacher, shared with us the Five Areas of Impact she’s seen in her students who ride Strider Bikes; PT, OT, Speech, Behavioral and Social. She uses 13 bikes in her classroom and integrates the bikes into their curriculum and Individual Education Programs (IEPs).
“Some people who are outside the field of disabilities may say, “Oh, that’s cute,” when they see an individual with a disability riding a bike. They have no idea how challenging it can be to get that to the point of riding on two wheels, nor do they understand the impact riding has in several areas of their lives.
The five areas above build upon each other; improved spatial awareness helps them feel more comfortable riding and spend more time doing it, which increases agility, balance and strength. With better behavior, their social skills with peers and family members improve.”
Many professionals have told us they’ve seen improvements in children with developmental delays. Last year, Dr. Andrew Shim, Chair of Briar Cliff University's Kinesiology and Human Performance Department, conducted research that confirmed children with ASD show a significant improvement in stability scores after riding a Strider Bike.
“Stability scores in all body planes were significantly improved during the five-week duration,” said Shim, who conducted the research at the Pier Center for Autism in Sioux City, Iowa. “Starting on a STRIDER Bike can assist children with special needs in transitioning to a regular, two-wheeled bicycle without the anxiety of falling or using training wheels.”
For more stories of riders with special needs, as well as more information on the autism research and details on the larger sized bikes, visit our Strider Special Needs web page.
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