NEW RESEARCH SHOWS STRIDER BALANCE BIKES ASSIST CHILDREN WITH AUTISM
Author: Nicole Kotarac Date Posted:17 August 2016
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disorder that affects a person’s ability to interact with the world around them. Social interaction, communication challenges and repetitive behaviors form the core difficulties faced by children with ASD. In addition children on the autistic spectrum often experience movement difficulties and poor motor skills. ASD has wide-ranging levels of severity and varying characteristics. No two people with ASD are alike.
Riding a conventional bike is a tricky thing to master for most children. Pushing the pedals forward in a circular motion, one foot at a time, is a lot to process for even the most confident children. But when you lack fine motor and muscle control, it can be impossible.
Balance Bikes For Special Needs Children
But did you know that riding Strider bikes can improve the balance and functional fitness of people with Autism?
Fresh research out of the USA by Dr. Andrew Shim, Chair of Briar Cliff University's Kinesiology and Human Performance Department, has shown that children with ASD show a significant improvement in stability after riding a Strider No-Pedal Balance Bike for just five weeks.
“Stability scores in all body planes were significantly improved during the five-week duration,” said Shim, who carried out the research at the Pier Center for Autism in Iowa. “Starting on a Strider Bike can assist children with special needs in transitioning to a regular, two-wheeled bicycle without the anxiety of falling or using training wheels.”
The five-week study involved eight children with ASD aged 6-10 who had no prior bike-riding experience. They met three days per week for one hour, and on average, they rode for about 15 minutes each time, based on their tolerances.
Many parents like Amber Zorak of Cheswick, PA, also see behavioral and social benefits of kids riding Strider Bikes. Amber's 11-year-old son Dante Hoffman has ASD and competed in the Strider Championship Series Special Needs Race in Pittsburgh this year. “Dante is always smiling and laughing when he rides his Strider! His behavioral therapist incorporates it into his therapy twice a week. Riding makes him feel like he fits in and helps him bond with his 6-year-old brother who rides a pedal bike.”
Dante Hoffman enjoying his Strider Bike.
Amy Heuston, a special education teacher at Central High School in Rapid City, SD, has 13 Strider Bikes, incorporating them into the curriculum and the students’ Individualised Education Programs (IEPs). She states, “We knew the Strider Bikes would have physical benefits, but I have seen their impact in five areas: Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech, Behavioural, and Social.”
To read the Full published Report Autism Research Paper
Strider Sports Australia is happy to be able to support riders of all abilities with our range of Balance Bikes.
These patented balance bikes for special needs children focus on the fundamentals of balancing, leaning, and steering without the distractions and complications of pedals or training wheels.