I like riding my bicycle!
As I mentioned in my previous post I set myself one goal for Callum this summer – to help him learn to ride his bike as a result of a chat with Desmond a few weeks ago. Now over the years we have tried all sorts of different types of bikes to tempt Callum away from his trusted trike that he fell in love with at 2 years of age but he was not interested in any of them! If Callum is not interested in something then there is no way I can coax him, tempt him or persuade him to just give something new a go. This has always been incredibly frustrating as I can normally encourage a child to try something new but none of my tried and tested methods would work on Callum. His stubborn streak comes to the forefront in these situations! However, there have been many times I’ve admired this characteristic of Callum as there have been times I have found myself doing something because that’s what’s expected of me or because someone else thinks it’s a good idea but not necessarily what I want to do. We should all be mindful of society and it’s expectations but equally we should all stay true to what feels right to us as individuals as long has your intentions come from a positive place.
However, I was determined to help Callum learn to ride his bike because I knew he would love the freedom so Hamish, Euan and I had a quick family chat. 5 minutes later we had a plan…
- Hamish tied a piece of rope to the front of Callum’s bike.
- We placed Callum’s bike directly opposite the front door so it was the first thing he would see when the door opened.
- I helped Callum put his shoes on and explained we were going to help him ride his ‘big boys bike!’
- I asked him permission to put his helmet on to keep him safe – he politely obliged by tilting his head upwards.
- I opened the door to reveal Euan standing proudly next to Callum’s bike whilst holding the rope.
- All three of us were oozing enthusiasm and Callum excitedly sat on his bike. We seized the moment and off we went!
It didn’t really matter what happened next in my eyes as for the first time Callum showed an interest in his bike, he sat on the seat and placed his feet on the pedals. However, it got better and better! Callum hummed to himself, smiled lots and showed he was pretty good at steering – the years of trike riding had ensured he could steer through any small gap with precision! Callum also showed he knew exactly where he wanted to go on his bike with very definite steering and after 10 minutes he led us right back to the front door…success!
If you listen carefully to the clip below you can hear Callum humming to himself and see his gentle smile.
This first outing occurred 9 days ago and we have been taking Callum out on his bike every day since. We’ve increased the distance, varied the terrain and speed of each bike ride and with each one we’ve witnessed Callum enjoy himself a great deal. He varies from humming to himself, shouting out sounds of excitement, shrugging his shoulders forward repeatedly to tell us he wants to go faster and steering purposefully through puddles!
Here’s Callum picking up speed – Euan was running whilst holding the rope and Callum loved it!
Today I took Callum out on my own for his daily bike ride to our local park. I realised that I wasn’t pulling him with the rope and he was pedalling really well and in line with me so I tentatively let go of the rope! Callum continued to pedal and steer independently. A tremendous moment and I was so very proud of him! I managed to get a short video clip to show Callum’s ‘Canadian Village’ team as well as Euan and Hamish and although it doesn’t show the full extent of his pedalling prowess but it gives you a taste.
1st August 2017 – look at him go!
As I’ve explained it was Desmond who gave me the idea of helping Callum to learn to ride his bike when we returned from Canada and it really is a skill that symbolises so much change in Callum:
- His core muscles are working effectively and ensuring he stays on his bike when cycling over varied terrain.
- He has to use both sides of his body through pedalling and steer at the same time.
- Callum is aware of the importance of staying on the path.
- He will follow our instructions regards our direction of travel (most of the time!).
- Callum is communicating where he wants to go by steering in a certain direction.
- Cycling helps him use his voice.
- Being orientated has helped Callum pull all of these aspects together and learn a new skill.
As a family we always used to love going for bike rides and although either Hamish or I will go out with Euan, they are less frequent. So, as a result of today’s achievements Hamish is looking into purchasing a tag along for Callum so we can venture further a field as a family…watch this space!
All in all – a cracking achievement for today!
#asd #autism #davisautism #noit #unlockcallum #cycling