this past summer, we were blessed with a wonderful opportunity. our local children's hospital told us about a really neat summer camp for children with special needs. they teach children to ride two wheel bicycles. nearly 80% of participating children are riding independently after a one week camp. check it out and share it with your friends. they operate all over the united states.
learn to bike summer camp list of selected 2014 cities
sad problem was... it was not in our budget to have B and S participate. but our God is a Mighty One and showed us a fabulous kids' charity who stepped forward to gift the children the icanbike camp.
together with local police explorers (student police corp), firefighters, police officers and iCan Bike program representatives; they truly created a fun, relaxed, cohesive team to teach the kids. this is what it looked like...
B on an early stage bike.
they offer several bicycles with whatever adaptation the child might need extra assistance with. once a skill is mastered , the kids move up to another type of bike. eventually most graduate to the goal of two wheels.
the program creates a very calm environment, so children with sensory issues can learn free from too much extra input. there were several children with autism that had a rewarding experience. one of my hubby's friend's sons who has autism was in the camp too. we were glad to see a friend sharing the fun. small world.
they even ask that the mama-razzi stay outside to capture photographs. i sneaked a few INDOORS though!
once the kids master a tippy wheel thingy, they graduate to a typical two wheel bicycle with an adaptive handle for the trainer to help steer and offer counter balance.
S moved outside to the parking lot on day 3
B made it outside on the final day
but she never did master riding well enough to ride by herself. we did not expect she would. her neurological deficits are still too great to overcome.
i did not purchase a handle from the organizers! sure take one home to help her practice. uhhh... i considered it and then had this vivid daydream...
scene opens with me wrestling bicycles into the trunk of my sedan for three separate trips to the local elementary school parking lot. all to get four kids and their bikes and gear to an appropriate place for riding.
it is midsummer-the only time we might have to go on an outing of this caliber. i get to the lot with the last load, greeted by my excited children. i am now a sweat hog, but its ok, as long as the kids have fun. right?
i spend twenty blistering minutes baking on the asphalt assisting each kid into their safety gear. helmet, gloves, elbow, knee pads.
just as i hitch my back straight from the crippling bent position; i see B waiting patiently, longingly, asking me with her eyes...mom, please run beside my bike using that nifty handle thingy?
i consider that sweet face. her three sisters are happily laughing while zipping around the varying lots. how could i say no?
so i run a few laps behind her and as i start to see my heart pounding red in my eyes, it dawns on me why the icanbike program has teams of three volunteer spotters, per child, to switch off every few minutes.
i am by myself. i have already performed 45 minutes of heart pounding aerobic activity bringing the bikes to the lot and then had to use fine dexterity in a hatha yoga environment to dress them. it was turning out to be some nightmarish nod to a Twilight Zone-ish Combined Olympic event.
as i start to stagger into welcome darkness, i gasp, "everyone time to gooooo."
fade to black.
the next day's paper displays a front page picture of four children riding their bikes phalanx style down a rural highway, towing their heat stroke victim's mother's car behind.
i smartly snap back to my senses and graciously thank the lovely volunteer for the offer, but, no, thank you. we will not be purchasing the adaptive handle for just $XX.00!
the last day of camp, S, was tearing around by herself. B had two to three seconds of independent riding at a time. they both did a great job. and had lots of fun.
S with her team
it takes a village of heroes to raise bike riders!
B even asked to try again this year. maybe God will find her another donation to make that possible. we'll see. she will most likely never learn to ride a typical bike, but she can keep trying. you go girl!