Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Riding into Day Two of Lose The Training Wheels!

"Why would you ever want to teach your older son, your "bolter", how to ride a bike? It would only give him a faster method by which he can escape."

I've been asked that question many times when people hear that I've placed my older son in Lose The Training Wheels, a program designed to teach children with special needs how to ride bikes. We live under enough of a threat of what happens if our son gets out the door and is free to run away. Then think what could happen if he could hop on a bike??

Well, lock up the bike. Mount it high--religiously.

I refuse to live in fear of autism.

If my children make it through this week of the Lose The Training Wheels Camp, and they have gained a piece of childhood that has nothing about special needs attached to it? Then I'm going to do all I can to support it for them.

I can't be driven by the fearful "What ifs?"

I MUST be driven by the excited "What ifs." The ones that see potential and make me anxious for it to emerge!

Yesterday, just one minute before our older son was to get on his bike for the first time of the week, he broke free of me, ran through two doors and made it into the pool within the complex that housed the program for the week.

DARN IT ALL! Last year, the pool was never open. Not even once. What rotten luck that it is open now! It took him 3/4 of the class to let go of that compulsion to bolt and get to that pool no matter what it took. The two volunteer runners with him were extremely kind. How refreshing to work with a volunteer, someone who actually WANTS to spend time with your child. They, his grandpa and I managed to talk him back to his bike for another try, and he was able to enjoy the last ten minutes of class.

With a sunken heart, I reminded myself that, this is a process. Everything about our older son reminds me that, life, too, is a process.

My observations the of past couple days, combined with what I saw last summer when our older son attended, is that there is much more happening with our kids when they are just peddling around on this adaptive bike the first couple days. If some kids are lucky enough to be able to even make their legs move reciprocally, there next is a speed requirement. Riding a bike requires a certain amount of speed, and, well, a lot of our kids have some low muscle tone. Stamina is quite an issue.

These kids are working REALLY HARD!! They get tired!

But, more than that, I see smiles. I see joy. My younger son, who not more than four months ago said that life made him feel like a loser, said that he was pretty awesome at this. He even thinks he might win a trophy---his first ever trophy!

To see him experiencing the gift of self confidence is priceless. To see him hopping on a bike--who cares if it is adaptive at this point--and racing away, is priceless. And, last night, when he told me he wished he could go back that very minute to ride, I was elated.

He's my couch potato. He's my electronic kid. He's my chubby, lovable boy who shuns physical activity--all because he doesn't understand his body in space and he thinks that he will fail.

Thank you, Lose The Training Wheels, for giving our son the experience of not being a loser. Thank you for letting him see that he can shine. He can win and he can do great things.

What a tremendous gift.

You know you are in a good group when they work with your child's perseveration. This picture shows our older son's special toy of the day--a baby einstein vhs--which he couldn't put down, taped to the handle bars.

The smile says it all.

Younger son and his posse. The volunteers are extremely caring and patient with our kids!

Thank you UNYFEAT!!

1 comment:

  1. The entire program is amazing!!! I witnessed first hand how these children walk in with anxiety and uncertainty and leave full of joy and pride. The kids are brave souls as well. Thank you for letting us experience your two boys.