Posted on 13th Mar 2018
Annabelle is a fun-loving and happy five-year-old who enjoys playing outdoors.
Annabelle has a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder and has significant coordination and motor difficulties. She is unable to speak and uses her iPad and hands (Auslan) to communicate and express herself.
Annabelle’s mum, Kathleen, noticed Annabelle laughing and being excited to see children on bikes. She thought that Annabelle would enjoy riding and wanted her to be able to join in, especially seeing as they have nice parks in their area where kids ride around and enjoy parties.
Annabelle had tried a standard tricycle but didn’t have the combined strength, balance and coordination to manage this without constant physical support. Annabelle’s parents were beginning to think that Annabelle wouldn’t be able to ride a bike independently.
Kathleen found Freedom Wheels and decided to bring Annabelle along to a free assessment with TAD’s therapist. Freedom Wheels bikes offer extra support and stability so that kids with disabilities can ride independently.
The therapist, Chris prescribed the best combination of supports to be added to a bike for Annabelle so that she could have the opportunity to ride on her own. Kathleen says she was impressed with the detail of information Chris gave. He offered advice for getting the most out Annabelle’s riding experience. Chris also explained that the supports added to the bike would be easily adjustable so that as she grew, Annabelle would get good use out of the bike.
On Annabelle’s birthday, her brand-new Freedom Wheels bike was delivered to her home by TAD’s volunteer couriers. Pink and adorned with balloons and a pink butterfly, it was the perfect gift.
Annabelle has great fun riding her bike, “she likes to go fast and loves to ring the bell. You can see in her eyes how happy and proud she feels,” says, Kathleen. Her strength and coordination have improved too, she is getting better at pedalling her bike independently and it won’t take long until she doesn’t need mum to help push her along.
On a recent family holiday in Nelson Bay, Annabelle enjoyed riding her bike alongside her cousins. Kathleen says, “It was a special moment for our family. Annabelle was able to participate and experience the same joy and fun as her cousins and other children her age. Riding a bike is a special achievement for a child, and Freedom Wheels enables that.”