Autism transitioning from training wheels
It’s every kid’s right, right, to learn how to ride a bike, right?
Well, how does it go…autism transitioning from training wheels?
Is it different for our kids?
Kids everywhere transition from their “young kid” bike, the ones with training wheels, to a bike without training wheels. It’s just another part of growing up.
For kids on the autism spectrum, however, it may not be that easy.
The spring when my son was eight, I dedicated an entire spring break to getting him to learn how to ride his bike without training wheels.
Typically, my son does things at his own pace. At this point, he was still riding his bike with the training wheels. I decided to try to push him and see if he could try riding sans wheel.s
My son had just gotten a new bike for his birthday in February.
A new bike.
Trying to convince my usually cautious child was a bit of a project. My son is not the most confident athlete in the world.
For that reason, plus adding in his autism, our child has usually been behind when it came to any kind of physical learning.
Is it strictly autism-related?
It could be.
Typically, children don’t always understand their physical bodies. We were told, when our child was very young, that he had trouble “feeling his own body in space.” We were instructed in various OT-related ways to help him discover how his body moved around. He learned how to walk late, but he finally walked.
To this day, he runs but he still looks a bit awkward. He rides a scooter, but again is cautious and awkward. He plays baseball and soccer, but with any real skill. I still think he doesn’t quite understand the physical movements of his body.
For learning to ride a bike without training wheels, I considered setting a deadline, but I didn’t.
Instead, I asked my child to do his best. We told him we knew he’d learn how to do it. Whenever that was.
How did we do it?
We began on a patch of grass so if he fell, he’d feel more comfortable.
That didn’t last long, because we realized how hard it was to ride a bike on grass!
We moved to the pavement on our street.
One problem with our street is it only has a sidewalk on one side and that sidewalk has a power pole or some kind of post every 20 feet. I knew my child was going to be intimidated by all of the obstacles.
So, we reluctantly did it on the street, toward the side. I made sure to run next to him and keep a hand on his back. It made him feel more comfortable.
As he gained confidence, I would remove my hand.
After the week of spring training, my son was beginning to get it. We practiced on and off for the next two months.
When he was finally peddling without being held at all, we practiced stopping, turning around, and starting by himself.
He was happy and seemed confident. He got through it without taking too many spills.
For more help in teaching your autistic child to ride a bike, read here: