Keep on Trucking
Guest post By Michele Brooke, author of The Autism Sisterhood
As the mom of two boys on the autism spectrum (ages 4 and 6), I am always on the look out for new ways to develop and/or promote gross motor activities. Both of my little guys are very different. My oldest son loves the trampoline, his bike and his scooter—basically anything that propels his body up, down or forward. He loves to move.
My youngest son, however, has not been very interested in these types of activities; that was, until last week when I discovered Fisher Price’s Smart Cycle Racer (http://www.fisher-price.com/fp.aspx?st=10&e=smartcyclelanding). Basically, it resembles a small stationary bike that plugs into the television to create what Fisher Price calls a “physical learning arcade system.” Now, I am not a paid promoter for Fisher Price; however, I always love to pass along great finds when I come across them.
You see my youngest son loves all-things electronic, especially computers and video games. That’s why the Fisher Price Smart Cycle Racer sounded like a great fit for us. The set up is simple and the games educational (think: basic ABCs, numbers, following directions). The beauty of the system, in my opinion, is the fact that most of the games require the child to pedal and steer to complete a task. It has proven to be the ideal motivator for my 4-year old.
For the last week, my little guy has energetically pedaled “his bike” throughout the day. He now understands how to pedal and steer. These two skills were difficult to teach due to his reluctance to climb aboard his regular bicycle. He also pedals while he is playing the games that use only the joystick—so he is pedaling just to pedal. I love it!
I am excited to see if his newfound love of biking transfers to riding his bike in the great outdoors. We plan to give it a go once the temperature rises above 32-degrees. However, even if he’s still reluctant to take part in this popular childhood pastime, I still like the fact that he’s pedaling away on his “exercise bike” and enjoying the benefits of exercise.
For the last six years, my family and I have used technology, especially television, as a wonderful teaching aid. In my book, The Autism Sisterhood, I write about the benefits of pairing TV with video modeling. And, once again, I find myself exuding the benefits of this often-captivating format.
To learn about other discoveries we have used along our autism journey, please check out my book The Autism Sisterhood ($6.95). It can be found on Amazon.com (http://www.amzn.com/1452895465). Until then, keep looking for those great finds and remember to celebrate the little things.
This is a great book – I have soooo many books that have gone unread because the content was written by a Ph.D. in a language I could not understand, because the book was way too big to get through, and other reasons… but Michele’s book was not intimidating to me and I was able to read it in one day and learn so much! Mary Beth