Promoting and Examining Physical Activity and Fitness in Children with Disabilities
Research Center»» Adaptive Bike Events
As part of the Franciscan Hospital for Children Research Center’s line of work to promote and examine physical activity and physical fitness in children with disabilities, the Research Center sponsored two recent events.
AmTryke® Bike Demo Day
On Saturday, June 23rd, the Research Center held AmTryke® Bike Demo Day where children and families could come and try any of 15 different types of adaptive bicycles. In all, 22 children were evaluated and fit for an AmTryke® bicycle and helmet by FHC physical therapists Maria Fragala-Pinkham, Helene Dumas , Diana Klar, Jolene Nelson, and Hilary Smith.
They were also assisted by community physical therapist JoAnn Hutchinson and faculty member Jane Baldwin from MGH Institute of Health Professions (IHP) and physical therapy students from MGH IHP and Northeastern University. Joe Copeland, Executive Director from Amtryke® was available to answer questions about funding for bicycles and offered discounted prices to the participants. In addition, as requested, therapists helped families prepare an application for the AmTryke® “wish list”.
About AmTryke®, LLC
Established in 1994, AmTryke®, LLC is a company owned and operated by National AMBUCS™, Inc. AMBUCS is a non-profit service organization dedicated to creating mobility and independence for people with disabilities. To date, over 15,300 AmTrykes® have been distributed around the world. The majority of these bicycles are purchased by volunteer members of the AMBUCS organization and donated free of charge to children with financial need. The tricycles, which can be hand and/or foot operated, are designed to accommodate riders of all ages, sizes, and with varying degrees of physical limitations. For more information about AmTryke®,please visit: http://ambucs.com/amtryke/.
Adaptive Bike Camp
During the week of June 25th, the Research Center held its 2nd annual Adaptive Bike Camp. Thirty-five children from throughout Greater Boston, ages 5 to 21 years, with a variety of special health care needs participated. Peer campers (including siblings) without disabilities were also included. Two 1.5-hour sessions were held in the morning and one 3-hour session was held in the afternoon.
The program was staffed by FHC physical therapists (Maria Fragala-Pinkham, Helene Dumas, Diana Klar, Hilary Smith, Jolene Nelson, Kelly Lombard), occupational therapists (Karine Latreille and Colleen Youngs), speech therapist (Melissa Schofield) KDS teaching assistants (Tyler Green, Leah Breen and Maria Deleon), and Boston- area college students studying education, nursing and other health professions so each child had one-on-one support.
The camp was held in the corral and “Wake Field” and in the Kennedy Day School gym as the weather dictated.
The campers tried different adapted bicycles supplied by vendors such as AmTryke® and Freedom Concepts, in addition to the adapted bicycles owned by the FHC Physical Therapy Department or Research Center. All children were fitted with the bicycle that matched their abilities and were instructed on how to get on and off the bike safely, how to pedal, steer and stop. Children participated in riding laps around “Wake Field”, learning the “Rules of the Road” and playing games while using a bicycle. Highlights of the week included decorating the bikes for a Bicycle Parade, a Bicycle Scavenger Hunt, and the “Amazing Bike Race around FHC”.
To evaluate the effectiveness of the camp, parents completed a program evaluation questionnaire detailing their perceptions of changes observed in their child’s bike riding skills, strength, and endurance as well as questions about the program content, staffing, and facility. A bike skills performance checklist was used to record bicycle-riding skills at the beginning and end of the program for each child. In addition, the distance a child could ride a bicycle in 6 minutes was also recorded.
Due to the great success of the camp, plans are already underway for Bike Camp 2013!
Amtryke® Bike Demo Day and Adaptive Bike Camp were made possible with support from AMBUCS, Freedom Concepts, Thomas Anthony Pappas Charitable Foundation, the Boston College Community Fund, and donations from the Stephen M. Haley Memorial Fund.
By Maria Fragala-Pinkham, PT, DPT and Helene Dumas, PT, MS. September, 2012