Thursday, August 11, 2011

Soaring high above day four of Lose The Training Wheels

How does one overcome a headstrong ten-year-old's refusal to participate in a program which you, as a parent, know can change his life?

This was the question I kept asking myself last night. I felt so excited for what lay ahead for our younger son now that he had lost his training wheels! Playing with friends, riding with grandparents, experiencing a piece of freedom that only this favorite summer past time can give.

But what, oh what, are we to do with our older guy? Always the puzzle, always the challenge, this child has stretched my parenting skills to places I never expected. However, the answer to the problem at hand was quite simple.

Since he'd done the camp before, the starter bikes were not challenging for him. He saw no reason to get on them. Therefore, it was up to us to create a reason. When he is not connecting to the program, then we just make the program connect to him.

What an awesome group LTTW is! They allowed me, a wacky mommy, to show up with a huge duffle bag filled with some of our son's toy vacuums. Of that stash, what wasn't taped onto the handle bars as hood ornaments was later used by the most awesome volunteers ever--two macho guys who weren't too proud to run in front of our son's bike while pushing a vacuum.


This is what is it all about. There is no way one can expect kids to overcome their challenges if they don't feel safe and supported. How can a child grow outside his comfort zone, working through a disability to do so, if they are singled out for their quirks? Today, through a shared appreciation of his vacuum collection, our older son stayed on his bike for the majority of the session.

And then...


I hope, if nothing else, our son was able to teach those in his session to never give up on a child with needs. Even if you think they are not listening or learning, you just never know. Our son did not look like he was going to be able to ride without his training wheels, but we just kept at it. We kept chipping away, presenting the information a little differently from one time to the next.

Our older son is a tricky fellow. Most places give up on him. He takes a lot of planning and prep work in order to be successful. As I sit here this evening, basking in the glow of having TWO bike riders as my children, I can't help but think how special a group LTTW is for allowing me to walk in with my big duffel bag and do a little experimental approach to our older son's learning process today.

A group that understands children like mine also understands that there is no one set approach to learning. Each child learns differently. How refreshing to encounter an organization that not only supports that but who also recruits volunteers who support that.

With that kind of an approach, today, the underdog was given a chance to show what he can do. Today, he lost his training wheels. Thank you to everyone who has helped our family this week. We will never forger you.

Our older son and his team

Lose The Training Wheels: This one is for you! Brothers race to the finish line!


  1. Those guys at LTTW ROCK! And your boys do, too! This one made me smile HUGE. :OD

  2. Amy - I've loved reading about the cycling this week - it's so very special. And it inspired me to work with Ben to get him back cycling again :)

  3. How absolutely fantastic - I was nodding along with every point you made. The points you make about groups that understand individual children's needs and are prepared to go with them and not only that but they manage to hire and train volunteers and workers who get that message and implement it for each individual child - that's such a big important truth right there and it applies to every child - they all learn better and get happier when they are treated with respect for their individuality and it doesn't happen enough. I am in awe of this program and the guys working with the kids and you Amy, the mum who wasn't afraid to try a whole range of things to find what would work, who kept coming up with ideas and trying them. Just brilliant to know that this kind of achievement can happen xxx

  4. Amy,

    You still inspire me to be a better parent, especially because of your support and love for your children. Hope they enjoyed solving their cubes. Here is that site I mentioned... Enjoy!

  5. Thank you. You are very kind. And, thank you again for the cubes! The kids love them! That was very thoughtful. Heading to bibisteps right now!