When most people think about Autism, they think of a child that has social problems, probably can’t speak and is possibly even violent. Many forget that it usually affects a child’s motor skills as well, especially when exerting themselves by doing things such as running or in this case, riding a bike.
If you’ve ever watched a child with Autism run, you can see it quite clearly by the complete lack of control of their arms, their body being off balance and their legs kind of kicking out to the sides just as much as moving forward. It kind of looks like a 1 year old just learning how to run for the first time.
Riding a bicycle is a tricky thing to learn for most children as pushing the peddles 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 near impossible.
In fact, I know some people who’s children are over 10 and have yet to be able to master it. It’s not from a lack of trying, it’s just not in them yet to be able to coordinate all of the body parts at once that it requires to get the bicycle moving.
In my case, I had another issue on top of all of that and that is Cameron’s size. You see, he was the size of an average 5 year old when he was 2. This meant that he was immediately too large to learn how to peddle a tricycle. He never had that first learning step because his legs were too long before he ever had the chance.
We got him a 2 wheeler with training wheels shortly after, so that he’d have a better chance at peddling something with his size but again, he was never able to get the concept.
This is where patience came in, and lots of it… over the span of 2 years.
Cameron got pretty frustrated a lot of the time, not wanting to try after failing at it for a few days… sometimes I even had to fight with him to get him outside to try. But we just kept at it a little here, a little there…
Now Cameron is just 1 week shy of turning 5 years old and after a lot of trying and trying and trying… he can ride! Granted, he puts his feet on the front tire to stop and he doesn’t turn yet… but he has the basics down and for me, that’s the biggest hurdle.
Keep in mind that he’s now the just about 5 and is the average size of an 8 year old… he looks pretty big on his bicycle now, but he can ride it and that’s the important part!