Over the past few months, Peanut’s gone through a series of evaluations to determine if he’s still eligible for special education services. (He just turned three, so he’s transitioning from Part C to Part B services under IDEA, which means that he had to be reevaluated. Evidently, just because you’re eligible under Part C doesn’t mean you’re eligible under Part B. Don’t you just love bureaucracy?) One of the questions we were asked was whether or not he could pedal a tricycle. Sadly, we had to answer “no.”
Although Peanut’s interested in tricycles, loves watching Elmo ride his tricycle on TV and hearing about Elmo’s tricycle in books, and has spent quality time sitting on his tricycle in our living room, he has yet to figure out how to push the pedals and make the thing go. We remain at a loss on how to teach him. We’ve tried pushing the pedals for him, holding his feet on the pedals while we push them–no luck so far. Evidently, riding a tricycle is one of those incidental learning things that’s just harder to figure out if you don’t see so well–he can’t see how others make the pedals go, so it hasn’t clicked for him how to do it himself.
While perusing old email in an attempt to clear out my overflowing inbox, I came across Lose the Training Wheels. As explained on their Web site,
The mission of Lose The Training Wheels™ is to teach individuals with disabilities to ride a conventional two wheel bicycle and become lifelong independent riders. This achievement, in turn, creates a gateway of opportunity, helping them gain assurance and self-reliance in many other aspects of their lives.
This sounds like a splendid idea to me.
They have some basic requirements for participation in the program:
To ensure the safety of our participants and the best use of our limited resources we have established certain criteria that all participants must meet to be eligible to attend a camp. These criteria are:
- Participant is at least 8 years of age
- Participant has a disability
- Participant can walk without an assistive device such as a walker or cane
- Participant is able to side step quickly to both sides
- Participant is able and willing to wear a properly fitted bike helmet at all times when on a bicycle.
- Participant has a minimum inseam measurement of 20” when measured from the floor, not the pant leg.
- Participant does not weigh more than 220 lbs.
Since Peanut’s a cane user, I was concerned about #3. I emailed the program for more information, and was delighted to learn that visually impaired children are welcome to participate in the program. As they explained in their response,
The requirement has more to do with the physical ability to ambulate. When you ride a bike and it comes to a stop, the bike tips to one side or the other. The rider has to be able to put both feet down and hold the bike and themselves up. Individuals with visual impairments do participate regularly and successfully in our program.
I’m hoping that Efrit and I find a way to teach Peanut to ride that tricycle–and, eventually, a bicycle–long before his 8th birthday. Still, it’s good to know that Lose the Training Wheels is out there to help us show him the way to ride a bike all on his own, like every other kid on our block.
Lose the Training Wheels has events all over the country, so there’s a fair chance that there’s a clinic somewhere near you. The next clinic in the Kansas City Metro Area is March 12-16, 2012, in Overland Park, Kansas.
You can learn more about Lose the Training Wheels at their Web site, http://losethetrainingwheels.org/