UA-45667900-1

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Scooter Therapy

One of the most read posts on this blog is the one about Lego Therapy.  We have lots of small Lego sets and they are indeed great as both tools and toys.  They are not exactly cheap, once you buy many of them.

Monty, now aged 10 and with autism, is also a big fan of music therapy, which regularly shows up as a favourite therapy among parents, although it is hard to prove its value scientifically.  In fact the other day Monty went to his first grown up ballet.  He went to see Sleeping Beauty and sat transfixed throughout the performance and behaved impeccably during the interval, surrounded by all the grown-ups in the audience.  It is clear that music has a power of its own, particularly over certain children.

Scooter therapy is my invention.  All you need is one of those new type of three wheeled scooters, which can be bought very cheaply.

Now, in any ABA programme you will have to work on both fine motor and gross motor skills, so that means finely controlling your hands to write neatly, or cut shapes with scissors and gross motor skills like kicking a football or throwing a basketball.  When you apply these skills to riding a bicycle, it may, or may not work.  Typical kids start with a small bike with stabilisers and then you soon take of the stabilisers and away they go.  You take for granted that the kids have situational awareness.  So if there is a wall straight ahead, they will apply the brakes, or swerve to avoid it.  If there is a nice row of flowers on one side, the kid may glance at them, but will soon focus again on where the bike is going.  With autistic kids the world can be very different, they may have no problem pedalling, but balance, using the brakes and situational awareness can be problems.

So I decided several months ago to take a step backwards and buy a little scooter and forget about bicycles.  The new type of three wheel scooters are great, they are more stable than the old type of two wheel scooter, but you still have to lean to turn left or right.  You can scoot on one leg, lean forwards to go fast and brake using your spare foot, or stand on the rear wheel.  All this fun and you are only a few centimetres off the ground, so it is hardly dangerous.

Well, after a few months, Monty has mastered his scooter and learnt about paying attention to obstacles, like oncoming bikes and pedestrians.  When something interesting comes into sight, he dismounts to investigate.  He can even safely scoot downhill on the pavement, while holding his ice cream and remember to stop at road junctions. 

This may not sound like much, but it is quite a transformation.  Sometimes to take two steps forward,  you have to first take one step backwards.

Scooting is also fun and you can go quite a long way.  A couple of months ago we managed to go 6km around a lake, which would have been a struggle on foot.

So, if you do not already have one, invest in a scooter.  They even have them for adults.




No comments:

Post a comment

Post a comment