Newsflash - Ben, my eight year old son who has Down syndrome can now ride a regular bicycle!! Apparently only about 10% of kids with Down syndrome ever learn to ride a bike, and very very few can do it before the age of ten! I credit his Skuut, and I’m very proud of him!
Special Kids Have Special Needs. Can Skuut help your Special Kid?
Both my sons have special needs. One has Down syndrome and the low tone that comes with it, the other was born prem and pretty small and has a left side weakness. I can’t tell you how much the Skuut has benefited them, but I’m going to make an attempt. It was because of my boys and their special needs that I first purchased a balance bike, and because of the leaps and strides they made in their development that I decided I needed to make the Skuut available in Australia.I love the Skuut for our kids with special needs. So many kids with developmental disabilities, autism, brain injuries etc. simply can’t ride a bicycle, or at least not on the typical timeline. They’re not co-ordinated enough, or they’re too nervous, or the whole idea just doesn’t appeal – “lack of control” mean anything?
I know that the first time my eldest son had a “Wheels Day” at school, I re-lived all the grief of his initial diagnosis. It was another little stab at what my son couldn’t do. Now, he does have
some cool wheels, and his little brother rides his Skuut to school nearly everyday. The kids in the Junior Primary flock to him on his cool little bike, and the older kids beg him to borrow it for a ride. When we go out and about – supermarket, hospital clinic visit, the pageant, playground, wherever, kids and adults alike stare at my boys, but they don’t see their disabilities – they see a kid on really cool little wooden bike and they want to know about it!
Through my sons’ needs we have seen literally dozens of specialists and every OT and physio has been really excited about the bike and how it can help kids with special needs.Here is what a few paediatric specialists have told me:
The Physio: Julie Astley, who runs “Child’s Play Physiotherapy and Aquatic Services for kids”. Astley says she’s always on the look out for new ways to facilitate a child’s core strength and postural control in a fun way. “The Skuut balance bike is brilliant for this – it’s a fun way to improve balance and stability. My own kids fight over it, too!”
The Chiro: Chiropractor Lincoln Cotton, who specialises in pediatrics at ABC Chiropractic in Adelaide, is also a fan. “I’ve got three little ones, and they all love the Skuut”. It promotes strength and balance without the fear of a traditional two-wheeler. Kids riding the Skuut are in control – they’re using their own feet for power and for brakes. Constant feedback from both feet helps to coordinate kids’ balance centres to build a more developed and coordinated child.”
The OT: Paediatric Occupational Therapist Dino Mennillo of Occupational Therapy For Children in Adelaide, has another take on the advantages of the Skuut – he’s been using one at a local primary school during sessions where the kids learn to assemble and take-apart the bike, which uses an allen key and screwdriver to attach the adjustable seat and handlebars. “The kids I work with love riding the Skuut, and I love seeing their fine motor skills get a work-out with a quality wooden product”. If your child is a Novita, Down Syndrome SA, or Autism SA client, please email me after you order to let me know and I will donate $20 to your service agency for every Skuut you purchase.