Teaching Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders to Ride a Bike

Liliane Savard, a physical therapist, has taught many children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) to ride bicycles despite their potentially low muscle tone and poor motor planning. Savard’s methods are described in the recent Parenting Autism blog post: Get Out Your Bike--It is Summer!. Savard’s preliminary training steps include:

1) Finding a teaching bicycle
2) Wearing a helmet
3) Teaching with positive energy
4) Finding an appropriate training area
5) Eliminating distractions
6) Determining verbal cues to use with the child (i.e., pedal faster, glide, etc.)

Savard’s training procedures involve teaching children to:

1) Glide (push off the ground with both feet)
2) Scooter (keep dominate foot on the petal while using the other foot to push off)
3) Pedal

Children should be provided ample time to practice each step before moving on to the next.

This training method may be effective in teaching children with ASD to ride a bike. Research investigating the success of this training method is warranted. For a more detailed description of Savard’s methods visit: http://parenting-autism.org/2/post/2010/06/get-out-your-bike-it-is-summer.html.

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