Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Riding Past Day Three of Lose The Training Wheels.

I don't care if you are a parent to special needs or not, parenting through the strong opinions of a ten-year-old is not fun. Now, add to this fact that my ten-year-old has very little language, so he accents his opinion with a pinch or a body roll or an obstinate sit-in, and, well, you can guess how our first couple days of Lose The Training Wheels is going for him.

He's bored. He did this camp last year. He lost his wheels last year. The problem is that the starter bikes with their starter rolls are boring to him. He wants to get onto that two-wheeler and GO! Well, the program doesn't work like that, young man. You have to work your way through the steps of the program.

Nope. Not gonna do it, mom. I'm gonna perseverate on the pool. I'm gonna try to escape into doors that lead to places I don't belong. And, if you chase me, I'm going to make you look like a middle-aged fool running after me with a red face.

Take that.

Meanwhile, my younger son is inside the LTTW room. He's loving this. He loves how fast he can go on the starter bikes. He gets a kick over smoking all the other people. He gets a rise out of being called a "granny", and he'll go even faster to prove you wrong. And, because of this...


Each bike has a bar on the back so that a volunteer can stabilize the rider as he starts and also so that he can catch the rider should he fall. I watched as our son started, the runner's hand firmly on the back bar. But, very carefully, gently, at a whisper's pace, the hand let go....

He was riding alone. I was holding my breath! I wanted to cheer, but, he didn't KNOW that he was riding alone! I didn't want to jinx it!! Steering was an issue. It was not all magic. He was thinking of SO MUCH while he was up on that big boy bike, coordinating all of his muscles in a way that he never has.

Ugh. Our older son was having an issue out in the hall. At this point, he had his two fantastically caring volunteers and a behavioral support person that works with our family. Still, he just wasn't feeling the bikes today. I had digital timers. I had picture symbols. I had food incentives. It wasn't working very well.

That's when I heard it. Applause. Cheering from inside the work room.

My friend came out and told me our older son would be okay. Leave him as he is. I must watch our younger son.

I walked into the room to see the child, free as a bird, whipping around the room surely near the speed of light. The smile on my face swelled my heart.

Our sensitive one. Our precious guy who thought that he would never be able to do anything right. Our guy who feels like he will never fit in and will be destined to be a loser forever. THAT GUY was riding the bike like a million other kids I have seen.

He did it. HE DID IT!!!

Lose the Training Wheels taught him to ride a bike so that he could learn to soar in life.

The feeling of putting in hard work in order to accomplish a goal. The feeling of having many people around you in support of your abilities. The feeling of love and friendship. And, in the end, for this child, the feeling of doing something he never thought he would be able to do. All of this and so much more gained from a program with the primary purpose of teaching kids to ride bikes.

You know, when it came time to send in the registration for the boys for this camp, I wanted so badly to do it, but I also considered cost. LTTW is not expensive, particularly considering what you get in return. Still, autism IS very expensive, and I hesitated on the strain a lump sum in registration would put on our pocketbook.

Then, I remembered that I had some birthday money socked away, and it was just the right amount. My birthday present to myself was the ability to give our kids this program. That is how much I believe in what it can offer to them.

And, even though I have a ten-year-old with an attitude right now, there are still two days left in the camp. This program has been known to work magic on many levels. I'm not giving up yet.

Congratulations to our son who lost his wheels today! We are sooooo proud!!

Our son and his two volunteers.

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