Our Pedalling story..

It was a long wait for us to see Sivaa using cycle meaningfully. The first tricycle was gifted to him at the age of 3, but he never used it. When we were in Coimbatore, every evening I used to carry his cycle down to the apartment walk area and I make him sit and try to teach him do the pedal movement. He would sit for less than a minute and would run to a place farther than me and I end up carrying his cycle everywhere he runs and jumps. Even if he sits, I have to push him and even if I push he would never pedal it forward. The cycle would move in the pressure I use to push it forward. And thus the tricycle story ended up there and when he became 5, his diagnosis started ruling everything and soon on expert advice and our research study on autism, we bought a bicycle for Sivaa with side wheels.

This time we were empowered and confident for the second trial with Sivaa. But within no time,We failed drastically in that attempt too as he showed less than 1% percent interest. He couldn’t get the idea of moving forward.

When Sivaa was 8 or 9 years, one day I happened to see him sitting in his old cycle and was trying to move it. Soon I accompanied by little assistant tried for the third time, but soon Sivaa stopped going to that side where his old cycle was kept and also tried to pull it down every time he sees it. The idea of pedalling forward wasn’t really getting to him. Pushing him all the time like the way we do for other children didn’t work for Sivaa because when we push him,he won’t pedal the wheels as his part. We tried alot but nothing worked out. I have seen a lot of children in the spectrum using cycle and was upset as it didn’t work for him.

One day I happened to read Addus cycling journey in which Smrithy had mentioned about using Gym cycle to teach him pedalling forward. That idea of her really shook me to start our cycling journey with Sivaa again. Two years back we bought a gym cycle for Sivaa and a new bicycle for Siddhu. I still remember how I taught him to pedal forward. I would sit down near the gym cycle and I would use my hands to show him how to pedal forward. In the sense I would pedal the cycle with my hands as he would be sitting in the gym cycle. Gym cycles have a lock system. He cannot take his leg out soon, once we place legs inside that pedals. After 10 such trials he learned that movement, but at times he would pedal backwards.

We started by counting his forward trials, like we started with 10 counts a time, but I made sure that he pedals it forward. Any backward pedals were left uncounted, so to finish the activity he had to count it forward. I had to concentrate only on forward pedals and nothing else. The constant position of the gym cycle made it easier for us. Now he rides gym cycle every morning for more than 2km.

Soon after this lock down period we bought him a big cycle with support wheels for the final fourth time. But by this time, Sivaa had acquired skating balance and we were far empowered as to how to work with Sivaa. To our surprise this time started riding it meaningfully. He learned balance soon. Now he is able to ride with one support wheels. Anoop takes charge of this too but he doesn’t have to run behind him like how he did for skating. Anoop removes the side support wheel to the right and left sides every week. This way he is learning to get balance on both sides.That is one such trick used by his father to teach him balance. But It can also be the skating balance that might have helped him gain balance in cycling too. We don’t know that.

So to conclude;

As stated earlier, I have seen a lot of children in the spectrum doing cycling. But for Sivaa this wasn’t easy. We tried a lot many things to make him pedal. But all our effort was in vain until this time. We never thought at this 11th year he would start pedalling. So my intention behind this blog is simple. Mom’s who haven’t tried… Please don’t regret about it. Learning can happen at any age. Now stores like Decathlon have many amazing cycles for special needs. And to those mom’s who have tried their level best and is in a state of denial…please don’t give up… If Sivaa can… Your child too can.. So don’t loose hope.

Stay safe stay positive…

I will be soon coming with a video of Sivaa cycling without any support wheels. I know we have a long way ahead but I like to jot down these anecdotes from his life.


Preetha Anoop Menon

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