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Do training wheels inhibit bike learning?

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 5:12 pm
by TazDevil
So my DS has a gross motor challenge. He has always been delayed physically and pretty much hated riding a bike even with training wheels.

We tried peddle pushers lessons but he was not at all comfortable.

So in the end this summer I took off the training wheels AND the peddles (left the chain) and within a week he figured out balance and coasting at his own pace and his own speed.

Now he pushes off with his feet and coasts quite fast and balances with his legs up in the air. We will put the peddles back on once he is OK with it.

They didn't have push bikes when he was little and now they are all really tiny so not designed for kids over say 3.

I really think the training wheels were detrimental to him. They were a false sense of security and he would have been FAR better off with a peddless bike 4 or 5 years ago.

So my advice to any parents whose kids are struggling, take off the training wheels and peddles and let them learn balance at their own pace. Pretty amazing at the progress he has made in such a short time.

Re: Do training wheels inhibit bike learning?

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 8:55 pm
by morningcalm
A friend of mine had similar issues with getting her son to ride a bike. In the end she hired an OT to help her son learn to ride a bike. Might be an avenue worth exploring.

Back to your general topic. I actually think many kids are learning to ride pedal bikes too early. I have seen kids riding pedal bikes without training wheels around age 3. Sure these kids could do it but they fell off their bikes many times and sometimes they hit their heads on hard cement. It seems like an unnecessary risk to me. (This is just my opinion...)

Re: Do training wheels inhibit bike learning?

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 9:19 pm
by CR&D'S Mum
I think it depends on the child. As you stated your son has some gross motor challenges, which make make a difference for his learning to ride.

None of my children have balance issues and all 3 of them had training wheels at some point and I did not find that the training wheels inhibited their learning to ride.

Re: Do training wheels inhibit bike learning?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2014 2:26 pm
by TazDevil
morningcalm wrote:A friend of mine had similar issues with getting her son to ride a bike. In the end she hired an OT to help her son learn to ride a bike. Might be an avenue worth exploring.

Back to your general topic. I actually think many kids are learning to ride pedal bikes too early. I have seen kids riding pedal bikes without training wheels around age 3. Sure these kids could do it but they fell off their bikes many times and sometimes they hit their heads on hard cement. It seems like an unnecessary risk to me. (This is just my opinion...)


Thanks. I have not heard of an Occupational Therapist that teaches bike riding. However the push bike style, no peddles, seems to be working fine and far cheaper than $400 we spent on peddle pushers.

It is all confidence and balance and that really can't be "taught" but has to be learned via practice.

As for age, well he is my youngest but if I had another I would not do training wheels at all, just push bikes until they can do peddles.

Re: Do training wheels inhibit bike learning?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2014 3:36 pm
by morningcalm
Yes, OTs can help with that. I have a high respect for that profession and I have found that OTs can help sort out a lot of gross and fine motor and sensory issues as well.

Just google "OT and riding a bike" and I found this blog post that may be of interest.

http://www.occupationaltherapychildren. ... de-a-bike/

Re: Do training wheels inhibit bike learning?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2014 6:46 pm
by TazDevil
morningcalm wrote:Yes, OTs can help with that. I have a high respect for that profession and I have found that OTs can help sort out a lot of gross and fine motor and sensory issues as well.

Just google "OT and riding a bike" and I found this blog post that may be of interest.

http://www.occupationaltherapychildren. ... de-a-bike/


Thanks. The blog is about toddlers. However the first comment from a parent of a 9 year old is similar to my DS and she said to remove the peddles in her reply so I think I am on the right track.

I have been asking the school to get him an OT assessment for 3 years without luck. I think I have to start pushing the issue.

Re: Do training wheels inhibit bike learning?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2014 7:02 pm
by morningcalm
Yes, you are right. It is geared towards age 2-5, however, there is some good advice in there about children needing good postural and lower limb strength to ride a pedal bike. Plus, I was thinking that the comment about the 9 year old was relevant to your situation. Perhaps, you could look into physio therapy for your child to help development good postural and lower limb strength.

You could hire an OT privately and get an assessment done that way if you have no luck with your son's school.

Re: Do training wheels inhibit bike learning?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2014 7:10 pm
by TazDevil
morningcalm wrote:Yes, you are right. It is geared towards age 2-5, however, there is some good advice in there about children needing good postural and lower limb strength to ride a pedal bike. Plus, I was thinking that the comment about the 9 year old was relevant to your situation. Perhaps, you could look into physio therapy for your child to help development good postural and lower limb strength.

You could hire an OT privately and get an assessment done that way if you have no luck with your son's school.


He has no problem with posture or lower limb strength. We have the trampoline and he can jump for hours longer than me. It is balance, coordination and confidence that he struggles with.

I could hire an OT but they are expensive with the assessment being about $5000 for it all and then he wouldn't get funding anyway as they don't fund DCD in the public system.

Re: Do training wheels inhibit bike learning?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2014 7:23 pm
by edcuator
We have really lost the reason for having an assessment done by a professional. It is not for funding but to find out how to help the child. If you ever have the opportunity to chat with an OT or PT or Educational Psychologist ask what they see as the purpose of the assessment. They become very discouraged about the time and effort and their knowledge and skills being used to acquire a funding designation and not for the pages of deep understanding that is described in the document.

An OT assessment can be invaluable and not too many of the result in a designation.

Re: Do training wheels inhibit bike learning?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2014 9:20 pm
by TazDevil
edcuator wrote:We have really lost the reason for having an assessment done by a professional. It is not for funding but to find out how to help the child. If you ever have the opportunity to chat with an OT or PT or Educational Psychologist ask what they see as the purpose of the assessment. They become very discouraged about the time and effort and their knowledge and skills being used to acquire a funding designation and not for the pages of deep understanding that is described in the document.

An OT assessment can be invaluable and not too many of the result in a designation.


The school will not "help" the child without funding. I have a friend who did pay $5000 for the same exact same type assessment for her son with OT and Psyc Ed. I read the entire report and although interesting, it was nothing she didn't already know and "officially" it really is pretty useless because there is no funding so the school doesn't do anything they recommended anyway.

We have a Ped for DD and although she is great the only "help" she has been able to offer has just been a prescription and I knew that so we never got her assessed until we were going to try the meds. I am thinking of seeing if I can get DS into her but it is so weird how for some disabilities the Peds will diagnose (ADHD, Anxiety, etc) but others like physical (DCD) they make parents pay for the assessment as there is no prescription for it.

Re: Do training wheels inhibit bike learning?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2014 9:22 pm
by beany
I learned many things from our guys ot assesment. I also got many tips on how to help him progress in his abilities. It was so beneficial.Well worth it

Re: Do training wheels inhibit bike learning?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2014 9:55 pm
by TazDevil
beany wrote:I learned many things from our guys ot assesment. I also got many tips on how to help him progress in his abilities. It was so beneficial.Well worth it


Glad it was worth it for you. I have a serious issue with having to pay $5000 out of pocket for a medical assessment where it should be provided under medical just like Autism assessment and ADHD and the other genetic medical assessments are. I also have some pretty good resources for working at home being that my family was in Special Ed in teaching for decades. It is the school that needs to do the OT assessment so they will address it at school.

All I care about is if he can learn to swim (head above water) and learn to ride a bike. Skating is optional but we may try to do that as well if he can get the balance. I taught him how to crawl, how to walk, how to talk, climb and bounce. It took him a lot longer and required a lot of patience but he did get it so I am sure he will with the bike and the swimming too.

Re: Do training wheels inhibit bike learning?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2014 11:09 pm
by morningcalm
I think an OT assessment is less than $5000. One OT gave me a quote of $1500. It is worth calling some OTs that do private services. You might not even need to do a full assessment and just pay for a consultation regarding this specific issue. I know one OT that has done that for parents.

I totally understand why you want the school to pay for it. I wish that parents did not need to pay for assessments out of their own pocket.

Re: Do training wheels inhibit bike learning?

PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 6:46 am
by Sunnygirl
I would never do training wheels again. Both my kids resisted having them off.... dd is 8 and she still freaks out at the idea... and generally doesn't want to ride her bike at all.

This is a kid who does amazingly at gymnastics and loves to skate.

Sigh.

Re: Do training wheels inhibit bike learning?

PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 5:04 pm
by West Coast Ed.
Totally agree that the school should have an OT assessment done, keeping in mind that most schools do have huge waitlists thanks to a reduction in specialist and itinerant services. I also completely agree with educator that the purpose should be to learn what can be done to help your child. He may not reap the benefits of individuals services, an IEP or funding, but this doesn't mean a good teacher won't read the report and follow the 'classroom appropriate' recommendations.
As a special ed teacher myself, I would recommend you ask to speak to the specialist teacher in the school and if possible the OT assigned to the school about your child's needs rather than the classroom teacher - not that I wouldn't discuss it with the teacher first so they're aware of the concerns (especially since you'll be dealing with a new teacher at the beginning of the year and they really won't know your child well enough to decide if it's an appropriate referral).