Southpaw Enterprises
Wide Track Bike
Wide Track Trike
This trike does not use a chain drive system like other trikes.  Instead the pedals connect directly to the front wheels, giving the rider complete control as the pedals turn all the time when the cycle is in motion.  The extra wide wheelbarrow-style wheels offer exceptional stability and traction.  Will accommodate most riders, 8 years and older.

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Pedal Roller
Pedal Roller
The Pedal Roller challenges coordination and balance through exercise and play. The handrails can be removed to encourage development of coordination at a faster rate for the more balanced user.
Fun Gripper B-Ball Target
Fun Gripper B-Ball Target
Score a 3-pointer and the ball is automatically returned to you.  Comes with three 5" Fun Gripper Balls for hours of sports arcade fun.
Laser Stars
Laser Stars
Transforms a room into your client's personal animated universe.  The projector will fill any dark space with a super sharp spectacle of the animated stars and cloud formations.  It will even surprise you with the occasional shooting star.  Uses all new green laser and holographic technology.  Just plug it is to create your own animated display. 
Issue: 6 June, 2008
Southpaw Enterprises - Pawprint 

Welcome to the June edition of Pawprint, Southpaw's monthly newsletter designed to share information throughout the SI community.   Our new catalog is out and you can view the new products we've added on our website here.  You can also request a copy of the new catalog here.

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Therapist Forum
Pedal Power: The Building Blocks of Bike Riding
Deanna Macioce, MS, OTR/L
Deanna Maciole
Summer has arrived and now is the time to get your kids outside to participate in activities that require more movement and expend extra energy.  Some traditional activities include taking a trip to the local playground, playing baseball and bike riding.  This month we are going to spend some time looking at the various gross motor and sensory components that go into the complex activity of bike riding. 

For many of us, we remember the day we first learned to ride a bike. There was mom or dad holding the back of the seat as you began to pedal, all of a sudden they had let go and you were sailing.  Although it may have taken a few bumps or bruises, you picked up the skill fairly quickly, and it tends to be one you do not lose.  But as you have taken bike rides throughout life, you probably haven't put much thought into everything your body has to do to make it happen.  For many of our children with sensory difficulties, there is much more that goes into teaching the body how to participate in one of summertime's favorite activities.  In order to accomplish independent bike riding, a child needs to have developed good core stability, balance, visual and bilateral coordination skills.  In addition, overall strength and endurance is needed. A child also needs to have well established vestibular and proprioceptive systems.  For these children, before even trying to get mounted on a bike, it is recommended to address these various skills individually.

There are various stages of bike riding that take place before a child is cruising on just two wheels. The skill of bike riding begins early on with toddler ride on toys. Children usually are able to independently maneuver these by 18 months of age. These toys involve a child using both feet to push off the floor to move in a forward or backward direction.  Most of these toys do not require much steering. 

Children next move onto tricycle riding which introduces the skills of pedaling and steering.  Typically, children master independent tricycle riding by age 3.  Early on children may be given assistant from an adult by using a long handle off the back side of the seat to help steer and move.

When initially moving on to learning to ride a two wheeler, training wheels are often used to offer a wider base of support for balance.  Most children are able to ride independently with training wheels by 4 years old and then master riding on two wheels by 5 years old.

In all stages of bike riding, a child needs to achieve motor planning to not only get on and off of the bike, but also to master pedaling and steering.  Core stability, balance, and vision are all required to maintain an upright position on the bike especially when movement is introduced.   Bilateral coordination is utilized for integrating movement from both sides of the body for both pedaling and steering.

If we break apart the complexity of bike riding into building blocks, it is easier to address the skills individually.  Ball activities that involve tossing and catching are good for developing visual and hand/eye coordination skills.  Setting up obstacle courses that involve standing and hopping on one foot help develop balance.  Initial pedaling skills can be addressed using the pedal roller.  Core stability can be achieved while performing various activities on suspended equipment, t-stools and therapy balls.  Performing tasks while prone on scooter board, climbing a ladder or rock wall, and completing rope pulling tasks all address bilateral coordination and include proprioceptive input.  These are just to name a few.

It should be noted that for children who demonstrate difficulty achieving the skills for bike riding, a variety of adaptations, as well as adaptive bikes are available.  Consult with an occupational or physical therapist to determine what may best fit a child's need.

So, before becoming frustrated with teaching the skill of bike riding, take the time to unravel the blocks, addressing skills individual to build a child's ability to independently ride a bike.
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