Balance Bikes For Special Needs Children: How Strider Bikes Can Help Kids with Autism (ASD).
ASD is the umbrella term for a group of developmental conditions that affect children and adults. Each individual is different, but often they share challenges with things like communication and motor skills.
Many people on the spectrum don't learn to ride a two-wheeled bike because of challenges with balance. The condition Dyspraxia often co-exists with ASD too.
Riding a traditional bicycle is a tricky thing to learn for most children. Pushing the pedals forward in a circular motion, one foot at a time, is a lot to process for even the most gifted children. But when you lack fine motor and muscle control, it can be impossible.
Balance bikes for special needs children
But did you know that riding Strider bikes can improve the balance and functional fitness of people with Autism?
Across the pond, new research by Dr. Andrew Shim, Chair of Briar Cliff University's Kinesiology and Human Performance Department, has shown that children with ASD show a significant improvement stability after riding a Strider No-Pedal Balance Bike for just five weeks!
“Stability scores in all body planes were significantly improved during the five-week duration,” said Shim, who carried out the research at the Pier Center for Autism in 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.”
The five-week study involved eight children with ASD aged 6-10 who had no prior bike-riding experience. They met three days per week for one hour, and on average, they rode for about 15 minutes each time, based on their tolerances.
Many parents like Amber Zorak of Cheswick, PA, also see behavioral and social benefits of kids riding Strider Bikes. Amber's 11-year-old son Dante Hoffman has ASD and competed in the Strider Championship Series Special Needs Race in Pittsburgh this year. “Dante is always smiling and laughing when he rides his Strider! His behavioral therapist incorporates it into his therapy twice a week. Riding makes him feel like he fits in and helps him bond with his 6-year-old brother who rides a pedal bike.”
Amy Heuston, a special education teacher at Central High School in Rapid City, SD, has 13 Strider Bikes, incorporating them into the curriculum and the students’ Individualised Education Programs (IEPs). She states, “We knew the Strider Bikes would have physical benefits, but I have seen their impact in five areas: Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech, Behavioural, and Social.”
To read the Full published Report Autism Research Paper
Here at Strider we're so pleased to be able to support children with special needs and we've designed a special range which is perfectly suited to help them.
These patented balance bikes for special needs children focus on the fundamentals of balancing, leaning, and steering without the distractions and complications of pedals or training wheels.