ASD Autism Spectrum Disorder

Providing someone who may not make the best choices with an opportunity to get outdoors in a safe environment can make the world of difference to you and that person.

Strategies for managing children who wander

What challenges do children with autism face when learning to ride a bike?

There are many bodies of research that link poor motor skills and autism. One study established that children on the spectrum can have poor balance and coordination because of a neurological glitch. It also suggests that extreme fear and anxiety can add to the difficulty of a child with autism learning to ride a bike.

Some reasons for a child’s struggle with bike-riding include:

  • Poor motor and balancing skills
  • Difficulty planning movements and predicting the outcome
  • Difficulty steering and pedaling
  • Difficulty stopping the bicycle
  • Difficulty understanding instructions
  • Inability to sense danger
  • Low muscle tone
  • Anxiety or fear

Considering these factors, we can expect that children with autism may not have preliminary skills for bike riding.

Tandems can be great fun for riders and pilots and come in a wide range of shapes and styles

Bike riding can provide a safe way to share outdoor experiences. We offer a range of supports which can improve the safe operation of the bike by the independent rider, including remote cut-off of the electric motor by the supervising adult, low-speed settings so the motor can be used to manage fatigue and strength but not to a point that the rider can get away too quickly. We can also offer a remote braking system which is operational to up to 30m from the rider, whether you are riding alongside or walking nearby.

For a rider who is unable to pedal independently, we can also offer tricycles which are steered by an attendant, either from the rear or from the side. These modified special needs tricycles can also be ebikes whereby the attendant uses the motor to assist with pushing and going up hills, especially useful as the rider gets heavier.

Another option is to share the riding using a tandem ebike, either one behind the other or even side by side. This can be a wonderful way to share the riding, especially if the supervising adult manages all the controls from steering to braking to power.

Having 2 wheels at the front and no front steering can make sharing the ride on a tandem more stable and fun! No matter what your age!

Talk to us about options and check out our range of ebikes and trikes, special needs trikes and our modifications which can be fitted to suit your unique circumstances.

Sources: https://www.autismparentingmagazine.com/teach-autistic-child-ride-bike/