Last night my 4-year-old son rode a bike. It probably doesn’t sound like a huge accomplishment to most parents, but it was a pretty special moment for us.
This time last year my son wouldn’t touch a bike. He hated all moving things – swings, tricycles, scooters, wagons, etc. We just thought he was scared, but it turns out most kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have balance problems resulting in motion aversions. It doesn’t feel right and they don’t fully understand what’s happening. Our OT therapist explained it to us as an uncomfortable feeling – like an itch you can’t scratch. ASD kids also have trouble with activities that require sequencing of little events like getting dressed, potty training or riding a bike.
My husband got home from work early yesterday, so we took the kiddos for a stroll. And a certain someone got to ride his bike. He can pedal and steer and stays on the road, although he thinks off-roading is much more fun. Watching him ride his shiny red Lightening McQueen bike (with training wheels that look like tires) and even steer it without any help, was kind of like watching autism pedal out of our lives.
Sure, he needed help from his daddy along the way when he would start going fast downhill and couldn’t quite figure out the brakes. From my perspective, he was just a normal kid riding his bike and were just a normal family enjoying a beautiful evening. These are the small triumphs that give us hope. We look forward to many more.