Every child wants independence and the ability to move under their own steam. Cycling is such a great way to get kids active, it can improve confidence, self esteem and a sense of accomplishment. However teaching kids with autism can be tricky and theres a real need here for the child to be safe while cycling.
Having the correct cycling equipment can help you and the child feel safer and more secure and of course prevent injuries. Helmets are a priority and elbow/knee pads can be invaluable. getting kids with sensory processing problems to wear any safety equipment can be a real challenge. Exposure therapy can help here, introduce safety gear gradually by getting the child to wear one piece at a time, while they aren’t riding. Make a game of it, if the child responds to that. make sure they are comfortable in safety wear before cycling for the first time.
Keep It Simple
Allow your child to pick from a selection of bikes & equipment with patterns and colours they like and will help them keep their focus on learning to ride. Cycle paths should be quiet, free of people and be generally calm and pleasant environment.
before going on big adventures, lots of practice is key. Try practising in your own garden. Soft grass is a lot easier to fall on than patio. Take time to remove obstacles such as rocks and garden furniture that can hurt if the child fall on them.
Patience, Positivity & Prepared
Patience is important when teaching any child a new skill.
- get your child used to the safety kit, maybe with the help of a scooter.
- using stickers, simple tag-lines and other visual cues to teach your child just what to do next
- Be right beside the child until they are comfortable with the feel of the bike and how to balance and brake.
Stay patient, stay positive and be prepared for some knocks and scrapes.
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