Special-needs children use innovative bike to lose the training wheels
A series of weeklong summer camps at various different cities, called Lose the Training Wheels, intent to teach special-needs children how to ride bicycles, according to the Evansville Courier and Press. This could lead to new treatments for those seeking physical therapist jobs that require working with special-needs children.
A collaborative effort between physical therapists and other local volunteers at the Easter Seals Rehabilitation center, the Lose the Training Wheels camp focused on teaching the 16 participating kids how to ride a bike independently. The camp boasts an 80 percent success rate, defined as children leaving the camp being able to ride a bike by themselves.
"Everyone is successful," Aimee Buckland, floor supervisor for Lose the Training Wheels' camp in Indiana, told The News-Sentinel. "It's like swimming without water wings. It helps lead them to other aspects of their lives, like bike rides with their families and friends. We see more riders from the age of 8 to 15 because it's not really cool anymore to have training wheels."
The bicycles for the program were primarily designed and developed by Richard Klein, a retired University of Illinois engineering professor. The bicycles at the camp use different levels of long rollers instead of traditional black tires. As a child progresses and becomes more competent and confident in his or her riding ability, rollers become more tapered, ultimately giving the rider more responsibility for controlling the bike.
Eventually, kids who show enough improvement in their abilities move on to regular bicycles with handles behind the seat, which allow volunteers to save them from accidents and falls. The camp ends with a graduation ceremony, where graduates receive a bicycle that's modification-free.
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