May 2016

 

CP News For You!

Did you ever stop to think about all the things that you do every day?  Walk, talk, run, type, eat and so on.  Able-bodied people take these types of things for granted.  For someone with CP, these tasks can be quite daunting and may require extra effort.  It is even sometimes necessary for someone else to assist with those tasks. 

So, riding a bike would seem like something that someone with CP would not be able to do.  However, you would be surprised at what is possible!   I found some information on adapting bicycles to fit individual needs.  As an example, there are hand-cycles for those people whose legs are not strong enough to peddle a bicycle.  A bicycle can be adapted to meet a host of other configurations. Having a custom made bicycle can be costly though.  There are grants to support this effort as well as people trading their used but no longer needed adapted bicycles.  Check out this page to learn more. 

For children who are ambulatory, I came across a great program to teach children how to manage a bicycle despite their disability.  The I Can Shine program started in 2007 and has helped over 20,000 people with a disability to ride a bike successfully.  This program is not for profit and relies on a vast volunteer network to accomplish their mission.  The I Can Shine program is available, locally, through Fairfax County Public Schools.   Click on the Find a Program button on the website to find locations that work for you.   I have personal experience with this program when my daughter decided that she wants to learn to ride a bicycle.   After signing her up, she attended a week-long after school class (75 minutes each day) and worked with the trained volunteers to learn how to ride.  What I found even more fascinating than my own child learning to ride a bike is that the program uses the talents of middle school children to serve as the child's "personal coach".  So, these middle school children are exposed to and learn how to interact with children who have special needs.  Middle schoolers tend to be self-centered and so participation in a program like this can assist with the acceptance of our special kids at school - a much desired and needed approach.  

Bike riding is one of those things that special children view as something that is "normal" and what children all over the world do - so why not give them the gift of being able to be like everyone else? 

Ride On,

Mayya