I am a teacher for students with severe medical disabilities at Donald Graham Elementary School in Wildomar, Ca. A crucial element of their curriculum is establishing and maintaining gross and fine motor movements throughout the day. Twenty-two medically fragile students attend classes at our school. Currently we have six adapted tricycles that have been donated for our students to ride which benefits their gross motor development and facilitates maintaining their gross motor skills.
Just as important, the social aspect of riding bikes together cannot compare to sitting in a wheelchair with peers participating in activities. With only six bikes, students from both classes do not have the opportunity to ride a bike every day or enjoy the pleasure of riding with friends. Your donation of an adapted tricycle would be a beautiful gift to children who have no other way of enjoying the pleasurable feelings that come from riding bikes with friends.
I appreciate your generosity and positive action which will contribute to enhancing the lives of children with special needs.
Lindsey Long: Special Education Teacher
Thorion has been in therapy and school most of his childhood. Every ability he has, he has had to work hard for. Gross motor, fine motor, cognitive and everything else has not come say for him. Thorion started with Donald Graham not too long ago, but already I can see a vast improvement in his happiness and confidence that was not there even after years of therapy. I see a comfort he has towards his providers, likely due to their ability to provide useful therapeutic tasks that he also enjoys. Thorion does not immediately connect with new places or people, but he was able to throughout his school day. He LOVES to be outside. It is the best environment to get him focused. On his first day, Thorion was able to start using the pedals. This was one of the only abilities he has that he was able to pick up on quickly and easily. I have to say, I'm super excited to see how well he picks us on this new activity. I am very grateful that these bikes are even an option for him! He has never had a chance to use one before this school and maybe never would have. Because he was given this chance and gets this opportunity to ride these daily, I wonder, for the first time in his entire life, will Thorion one day ride a bike? It now seems so possible. Thank you Cast a Shadow and Donald Graham! We are so thankful for the opportunities you are providing for my little one and everyone in his class. It means more than you could ever know.
Amanda A. Cervantes
Matthew Aiden Castra is a 5-year old boy diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. Matthew has been attending Donald Graham Elementary School since he was three years old and unable to reach the pedals. Matthew had to wait to grow to be able to ride the most wonderful thing any boy/girl non special or special, and that is to be able to ride a bike. Well Matthew reached that goal when he was four and a half and wow was it amazing for our Matthew. He had a schedule day at school to ride the bike and wow were we always pending on how Matthew did with the bike. You can see it on Matthew's face how happy he was to be pedaling and feeling that sensation of moving.
Matthew has worded really hard and he has now reached the goal of making some pedal alone in a slight downhill. This is an amazing accomplishment for our Matthew and we are so proud of him. We go to the park and ride his bike and you should see how happy he gets seeing other kids riding a bike as he feels part of them. I am very happy of the creation of these type of bikes and it would be great for each kid to have a bike as that is every kids dream. The bike physically has helped Matthew stimulate his legs which has been great to see him move them as he was diagnosed quadriplegic and at one point we were told he was not going to move any part of his body. It has helped to learn how to balance, grab the steering wheel and also helped on head control as you have to raise your head to see the wonders straight ahead. Emotionally while his smile says it all and just seeing his face after he pedals alone and him knowing he did it, it's a priceless sensation not only for him but for us parents.
I have a nine-year old son with cerebral palsy. My son is non-verbal, non-ambulatory and due to such limited muscle control considered to be quadriplegic. Most kids his age are able to run and play freely whereas most of his life is therapy and stationary. Amazingly there are some wonderful adaptive "toys" out to give special needs individuals the joys of having similar items to everyone else, however they are ridiculously overpriced and rarely covered by insurance. One of these "toys" I'm referring to is adaptive bicycles. At school my son was given the opportunity to ride a adaptive bike and it was the first time I have seen him have a sense of freedom! Seeing the joy in his face and hearing the excitement he let out touched my heart because I never thought I'd see him on a bike.
These bikes aren't just fun for our kids, they are also physically and mentally therapeutic. My son in particular has such high muscle tone that the bicycling allows him to loosen up and use muscles he wouldn't typically use. Mentally it helps because it adds some fun to a very physically based school program and the sense of being able to do something like everyone else socially. And like I mentioned, as a parent it gives us the opportunity to see our children feel included. I can't believe how much these bikes cost, but I truly wish insurance would cover it because every kid should be able to have something as simple as a bike. I thank you for your donations to our school and our kids. As a parent of a child with special needs it means the world to me to see a company see the need and understand how every child should have the joy of a bike and go out of their way to help!
I would like to take a moment to exporess the importance of adaptive tricycles to our program at Donald Graham Elementary. Our school holds two of the most fragile classrooms in our district with twenty-two medically fragile students, most of which are non-ambulatory. Throughout our program we stress the importance of gross motor and fine motor skills as well as socialization and communication. Through riding adaptive tricycles with peers our students are able to work on gross motor skills, strengthening their muscles as well as socialize with their peers. We have been fortunate enough to have six adaptive tricycles donated to our program for our students to be given the chance to ride with their peers. Previous to our program receiving tricycle donations we only had two bikes for twenty-two students.
Over the years I have witnessed how adaptive tricycles have helped my students. I have seen students go from not being able to pedal to pedal a bike to being able to pedal and steer on their own with limited prompting. The adaptive tricycles allow our students to be safe and secure while riding a bike. Each student is able to sit up with supports and pedal as the tricycle uses a pulley system to rotate the student's legs. The students are overcome with joy and happiness when they are on the bike and enjoy seeing their peers riding alongside them. It has been a great experience for our program.
Shaneen Foster: Education Specialist Donald Graham Elementary