Special Ed Specialized Home Learning Strategies – Bikes With Training Wheels

A few years back, I read a very interesting report, and I talked with a researcher from the University of Riverside in California about how teaching kids who were autistic, slow learners, or had down syndrome was a whole lot easier if you taught them a new skill such as learning how to ride a bicycle. The reasoning goes something like this; if you teach them to use a different part of their brain, and riding a bicycle requires motion skills, balancing skills, and all sorts of other things, then you are activating those other parts of the brain which are not used much, and you’re helping them grow, prosper, and make new connections.

Okay so, let’s say you have an autistic child, and you are teaching them at home. Or they are going through the appropriate education in the public school system, but you realize you need to do a little extra. Perhaps the best thing you can do is teach them how to ride a bike, first with training wheels obviously, because you don’t want them falling down and hurting themselves, and obviously you’d also want them to wear a helmet. Still, learning how to ride a bicycle turns out to be as fruitful as learning how to work with avatars on a computer.

What do you recommend? I recommend getting a bicycle with a large seat, and somewhat low to the ground. This way they have very little distance to fall off and hurt themselves, and they will enjoy the process. As they get better you can take off the training wheels, and then perhaps raise the seat, putting the training wheels back on for just a period of time, until they tell you they don’t want them on anymore, because it slows them down, and it isn’t as fun.

Yes, it might make sense to run alongside of them while they are learning, and you won’t believe how much fun they will have while you are doing this. It’s a new skill, and it’s fun to ride a bike, and they will enjoy it, and learn these skills quickly. Best of all it will help them in almost everything else they do, you will notice a change in personality, and the faster uptake of information in learning.

They will also notice the difference at school during their regular appropriate education. That’s what all the surveys and research suggests. Quite frankly it works, therefore you should try it. Please consider all this and think on.