Charlie has always found self-propelled bikes, balance toys or cars very frustrating. Due to his extensor pattern it is easier for him to push his legs backwards rather than pulling his feet toward him and moving a car or bike.
We did buy him a little AMTRYKE off eBay; it had fixed front wheels and a hand-crank to use his arms to help his legs get it going. Despite lots of attempts Charlie couldn’t actually do it on his own- however, we would push him along on it so he could at least feel like he was biking along and patterning movements correctly He really did seem to enjoy it. Unfortunately, due to its size, going at a decent speed meant that his little arms and legs were spinning like crazy! A number of time his accidently let go and the handle cracked him on the chin, whoops! Although Charlie could steer it very well he never seemed to enjoy it like typical 3 year olds might enjoy their bike- most likely as he didn’t have their freedom, only going where we pushed him.
Our physio put us in touch with another family with a boy with CP. He had a trike he had grown out of and was looking for a good home for his Quest 88 Kitten. The young lad had never really used it as he hadn’t really been able to when he was the right size for it. Now though this little man ‘runs’ the Parkrun with his Dad, as well as swimming and biking in mini Triathlons! Inspirational or what!?!
Whilst I was talking to the boy’s Dad I heard a scream from Lou- oh no i thought, he’s off already! Charlie was still sat on the bike, not only that he was pedalling AND moving. Well done boyo! Lou was screaming and Charlie was yelling- he was getting faster and faster and could turn chase his mum. It is safe to say a few tears were shed- i didn’t think he would be able to do it at all let alone on his first go!
Charlie likes it when we take his trike to school so he can bike home- he also likes to show it off to his friends and give him his due he is quite happy for them to have a go too.
Obviously, biking this way enables Charlie to develop his leg strength and improve his core balance. As his muscle quality improves it can increase the sensory info getting to his brain- hopefully even ‘reawakening’ it to consistently link his legs with his body. This can hopefully help him overcome his muscle tone in a much more fun way than movements and stretching but best of all for his mum and me, he is able to do the things little boys do- GO CHARLIE!!