Autism anyone?

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  • Autism anyone?
  • mrsflash

    Yet again STW proves what an amazing place it is.


    smartay – Member

    I’ve just read the remaining posts on here, do you thimk autism is more wide spread now or do you think the diagnosis has improved.

    Matt had his diagnosis as he moved from infants to juniors. He now attends a special unit at a local school. He has also been accepted at a local secondary comprehensive with support staff/ unit.

    I’d go with better diagnosis. I can think back to when I was at school 70- mid 80’s, about 3 or 4 kids who were classed as biffers by the teachers. Only now with hindsight I can say they were on the higher end of the ASD. We just had Jordan’s annual review this morning, and now looking to the move from primary to secondary. However due to the location we are looking at either from current primary to secondary, or current primary, to middle, to high.
    All three schools have autistic bases, with appriorate staffing levels and TA support in the mainstream classrooms.
    Again, going back 20 -30 years it seemed to be that all special needs children were all lumped together out of the way. Where as now, inclusion/ intergration is the main thing. ( providing it’s in the child’s best interest)

    Premier Icon miketually

    We (mainstream 6th form college) are getting 7 (I think) students who are on the Autistic spectrum starting in September. That’s 0.7% of our intake for the year.


    Can I just say that me and my whole family are so touched by all the wonderful posts.
    Yes its bloody hard looking after Joel and the amount of money you get from a carers allowance is minimal.
    Comparatively the huge amount of love and support that family, friends and random strangers show you is amazing.
    Joel is in an amazing special school, in a class with 6 other autistic boys. Im looking forward to getting him out on that bike with the wind in his hair and the sun (possibly driving rain knowing U.K weather)on his face.
    If you have a disabled child and fancy dropping us an email, we would love to organise some sort of social bike orientated gathering. My email is on my profile.
    Love LoulaBella x


    Hi LoulaBella, my 11 year old son Alf has Asperger’s Syndrome and ADHD. We’ve gone through a lot of stress and confusion in the last decade but due to ongoing professional help and medication (for our son!) our lives are on a more even keel these days. Anyway, it’s been a long journey so far and his/our biography is too long and complex to chart in one short forum posting.

    Andy RT, who probably lives near you, mentioned the possibility of doing a STW sponsored bike ride for the NAS (who’ve helped us no end) sometime this summer. My personal preference would be a 24hr South Downs Way Winchester to Eastbourne. But whatever, any effort that supports The National Autistic Society and parents/carers and people who live with autism has got to be worthwile. Andy RT drop us a line if you’ve any further ideas on doing this ride.

    Peace and love to all touched by autism.


    Premier Icon Sandwich

    Loulabella, I reckon Chipps and the gang may accept an article from you about Autism and cycling. In the past as a Scout Leader we managed to get a disabled lad through the cyclist badge one summer camp. This included an overnight expedition with camping, the teenage lad who pedalled with him earned his food that week! He was grateful we did it all at Thetford.
    When you get some idea of the sponsored ride give me a shout as my godson has Aspergers and I’ll ride and raise sponsorship.


    Thanks guys,
    Im away in Dorset from the 10-17th of July, when do you think the South Downs ride will be?
    Im about to email Chipps with the story idea, wish me luck!
    Once again thanks to all, it reminds us as parents that we are not on our own in this. Plenty of decent people trying to cope with this day to day.
    much love
    Lou x


    hi loulabella,

    a couple of things; four is still really young in terms of the time you have had to get your heads round your sons diagnosis and what this means to you all as a family. its a constant learning curve with all sorts of challenges but plenty of highlights too. autism or not, kids are at their most receptive when they are enjoying themselves so if he likes the whole bike thing then stick with it, it could lead all sorts of places.
    on the specialist bike front, try contacting your local university. my son has brain damage which also has physical manifestations and up until now Ive just adapted tralier bikes but he is getting too heavy. by a friend of a friend type contact ive been put in touch with a professor of design and technology who is going to get his final year students to design and build a bike specially for louie, free of charge! apparently they have funding for this kind of thing.

    hope this helps

    Premier Icon CliveA

    Sorry I'm a bit late to the party, but it seems you got a great response from the collective wisdom of STW, LouLouBella!

    As you probably know, I've moved jobs within CTC now (now working on the Bike Club project).

    Have you ridden with or spoken to Sarah, my replacement in Hampshire? She's handling the inclusive riding we do at Alice Holt, Petersfield and elsewhere.

    Of the hundreds of disabled people I rode with while I was working on that project, some of the ones that provided the most rewarding experiences were the people with autism. I recall that lots of patience is needed – it sometimes took weeks or even months for newcomers to overcome an initial fear of the new experience before they started to try the cycles. But given enough time, virtually all our autistic visitors are now riding quite competently on trikes. Braking is sometimes still a struggle, though! Most of our autistic riders have been young adults.

    All the best with the cycling plans and let me know if I can be of any help –">



    Just a thought about your son, just a thought. Peeps with aspergers often have dyspraxia as an associated condition, this impacts on their gross motor skills such as catching, cycling, bumping into stuff etc. If you find he has dyspraxia it won't help much right now but there are plenty of really good books which give you strategies to help etc.

    My son has asperger's, tpurettes, ocd and dyspraxia. The dyspraxia has been pretty much grown out now but the rest remain.

    He's off to uni next week to start a degree in computer science (surprise surprise) so if any of you out there despair for your kids, don't worry, they can and will surprise you many, many times.


    Just to add a wee bit to the excellent advice above. An earlier post mentioned the Dutch cargo bike. I can thoroughly recommend this; not cheap, but a very social way to cycle with kids. and class leading smiles per mile.

    A short video of the bike in action

    It is designed for cruising Dutch cycle paths, but is Clyde-built with big roadster tyres, so can handle rough tracks and gentle off road without any problems. Just be wary if you are buying, as there are various far eastern copies of the original Dutch version, with less robust construction and lower component specs. The UK importer does test hires if you want to try one out:

    I have worked as a coach with a local hospital, teaching groups of kids with co-ordination problems to cycle (including some on the autistic spectrum). Some of the children we have worked with initially had problems just walking and pushing a bike without falling over, but after 3 or 4 sessions using simple techniques and ordinary bikes, they were all up and cycling. Basically you start with the saddle down and pedals off so they can scoot and get some balance (stay well away from stabilisers, which slow down the process of learning to balance). Obviously this might not be suitable for your son at the moment, but he is still very young at 4, so I wouldn't give up on him learning to cycle independently.

    Happy to provide any other information if I can help. Good luck, and have fun.

    Premier Icon rOcKeTdOg

    hello, my GF teaches autistic kids from the most profoundly affected to the mildest, i'm sure she's be happy to give any advice, email in profile


    The Calvert Trust do all sorts of activites and I saw a group of them cycling around Thirlmere the other day (in the rain!) in special recumbent style bikes, also do horse riding, climbing ect, it's a charity/trust.

    Calvert Trust

    In Exmoor, Kielder & Lake District

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