Monday, July 20, 2009

Bicycle Camp Clears Hurdle for Special Needs Children

Great story from Detroit, for a change, on a program that is helping to monitor the health of children with special needs. Check it out.

DETROIT -- Over the years, Noah Harrington tried to learn how to ride a bike. It was like learning a foreign language.
Noah's mild autism led to numerous frustrations, failures and fears. He was 10. His bike still had training wheels.
But thanks to a bike camp that is part of research showing improved health of special needs children who master a two-wheel bike, Noah was pedaling around a parking lot week with a big smile on his face.
"I don't need training wheels any more," said Noah, of Dundee. "I am a bicycler now."
Noah and 39 other children in Ann Arbor last week participated in a study at the University of Michigan that recently landed a $595,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education. In its third year, the study measures the activity level of children with autism and Down syndrome when they learn how to ride a bike during a five-day bike camp.
Because of their limitations, only 10 percent of children with Down syndrome and 18 percent of children with autism can ride a bike, said Dale Ulrich, director of U-M's Center for Physical Activity & Health in Pediatric Disabilities.
But after the camp, most who attend can ride a bike, and the study is finding the children are more likely to stay physically active, leading to many health benefits

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