Ellie Bartoli – Lose The Training Wheels Camp
My daughter Ellie is 13 years old with Down Syndrome. She has two younger siblings who have learned to ride a bike. My wife and I have tried to teach her to ride her bike but have not been able to do so.
When the announcement came that there was a specialty camp to teach children with disabilities to learn to ride a bike we were thrilled and immediately signed up. Ellie was not so thrilled with this idea! She seemed very fearful of the process. However, we made arrangements and attended the orientation.
Day one of the camp went pretty well and she seemed excited, especially with her brother and sister cheering her on.
Day two did not go well. The staff were pushing her to go faster and she did not want to – I believe because of fear. Then they put her on the tandem bike. I have a picture of her on it and it shows the fear in her face – priceless. After day two I was not sure if she would learn to ride and wasn’t even sure if she would get back on the bike at camp.
However, day three went very well and she began to go faster and even began to ride a little outside.
By Thursday she was up on her own on the tennis courts! We couldn’t believe our eyes. Here was the little girl who could never learn to ride actually riding on her own.
The last day was pretty much the same, learning some starts and stops and going ever faster! We were all thrilled that Ellie was able and willing to ride a bike!
When the last day ended, Ellie looked at her mother and I and said ‘I want to thank Mom and Dad for giving me the support I needed to learn to ride a bike.’ Wow, obviously eyes were filled with tears on that one!
Some thoughts that came to mind after the camp ended included that in order for Ellie to fully socialize with her family, siblings and friends she really needed to be able to ride a bike. Also, riding a bike is a great way to exercise and now Ellie will be able to get more exercise and the whole family can rise together. Finally, it dawned on me that riding a bike is a lifelong skill that she needs for both the socialization and exercise reasons, but also that riding a bike for Ellie is a mode of transportation for her as she becomes an adult.
We could not be happier about her learning to ride a bike and believe without question that the system, support, and Psychology LTTSW uses is the reason she learned. They did a tremendous job!
Learn more about iCanShine (formerly “Lose the Training Wheels Camp”)