Views from a Newbie, well Kind of… My family has always been involved with people with special needs. My father was a Special Education teacher, then a consultant for the State of Minnesota for Special Ed, and ended up back in the classroom working with high school kids with special needs at the end of his career. My mom worked at a DAC – Day Activity Center which served pre-school and post school people with special needs. Later she worked in group homes for adult people with special needs. We were very active in ARC as I grew up, and I have a “Special” sister who is 45 and has been part of our family for 40 years; Amy Jo was born with Down Syndrome.
SO to the reason for writing is something I didn’t even register until I recently went to 2 Special Needs Conferences on behalf of Strider®. I was fortunate to attend both the National Down Syndrome Congress and the National Autism Conference and heard the same story told over and over by attendees at both events. They told me “I can’t ride a bike and I am scared to try because I was hurt trying to do it before”. What I realize is that people with special needs have better and longer memories then the rest of the world, and once they have distrust it is a long and careful road that must be walked to get them to give it another try. Which comes to the best part of my story, we were able to encourage and convince many of these special people to try sitting on a Strider®, then take one or two steps so they could understand the process, a few more steps and they are gaining confidence. Then the smiles start and “Hey Mom, Hey Dad are you watching? I am riding a BIKE, I AM RIDING A BIKE!!!” I am not sure who was prouder; the rider, the parent or the Strider Team. Traditional Bikes can’t give the access to the ground like a Strider®, training wheels don’t teach the balance that is the foundation of learning to ride on 2 wheels, and trikes are large and cumbersome to transport. So to all the loving and well-meaning family members who want to share their love of biking, STRIDERS are the best method to teach all people of all ages and all abilities how to ride.
Written by: Ann Hovdenes, Service and Education Specialist, Strider Sports Int'l, Inc.