Monday, July 4, 2011

Lose The Training Wheels


Children with disabilities such as Down syndrome will be taught to ride two-wheeled bikes – gaining confidence and independence in the process – at Lose the Training Wheels, a program of the Center for Community Inclusion at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University and the Down Syndrome Advocacy Foundation June 27-July 1.

With the help of volunteers, family members and C.W. Post students, approximately 40 children will use adaptive equipment in a week of training and practice. At the end of the five-day program, they will be ready to ride on their own.

For many children with disabilities, riding a two-wheeler is a seemingly impossible task. Past experience at the Center for Community Inclusion and in Lose the Training Wheels programs around the country shows that within days of learning to ride, many children exhibit independent behaviors for the first time ever. This achievement, in turn, creates a gateway of opportunity, helping them gain assurance and self-reliance in many other aspects of their lives.

“The program serves a critical community need in a creative, humanitarian way that involves a collaboration among our skilled and dedicated faculty, college students who are preparing for careers in the field of special education, and young people with and without developmental disabilities,” said Dr. Kathleen Feeley, assistant professor of special education and literacy at C.W. Post and founder of the Center for Community Inclusion. “The program helps students with developmental disabilities to build self-esteem and independence.”

Lose The Training Wheels is a national organization that uses adaptive equipment, trained professionals and volunteers. With 75 minutes of instruction each day for five days, approximately 85 percent of participants learn to ride a conventional bicycle independently. Sponsors include Mineola Bicycle, Fitness & Mower and Kelly Development.

The Center for Community Inclusion at C.W. Post is dedicated to providing resources to school districts, service providers, and families so that individuals with disabilities will meet with success in inclusive environments.

The Down Syndrome Advocacy Foundation is a not-for-profit organization founded by a group of individuals who have children or family members with Down syndrome, dedicated to ensuring that individuals with Down syndrome have equal access to schools, leisure activities, employment, and housing.

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