In June 2020, thanks to the generosity of our wonderful supporters, we were able to open our brand new Wheels Workshop at Portfield School. The aim of this project is to create independence through cycling, allowing our children to become active in their local community. 

For Finley and his family, the opening of Wheels Workshop has been life changing. We met with Jennie and Adie, Finley's mum and dad, to find out about the difference this project has made to their family.

In 2018 we bought Finley his first bike. He loved it, and enjoyed sitting on it, ringing his Spiderman bell, and we even managed to conquer him wearing a helmet! When it came to riding the bike, Finley couldn’t seem to grasp the concept of pedalling. This led to him getting frustrated and then eventually, bored. We tried on and off to help him ride his bike, standing either side and helping to guide the pedals, but with no luck. Finley seemed to have no awareness that the motion of the pedals going round made the bike move, and apart from the infrequent downward push, we made no progress.

Since the Wheels Workshop opened earlier this year at Portfield School, Finley has had the opportunity to practice on bikes, trikes and go-karts on a regular basis. It was riding the go-karts that helped him to finally master pedalling. The pedals are located in front of him, rather than beneath him, and we believe this helped him to learn the motion of pedalling and learn that pedalling made the kart move. With a bit of work, Finley was able to transfer his new skills to a bike with stabilisers. We practised at home on our drive and it was incredible to see how much he was enjoying it and how much he had achieved. After a few practices, we asked Finley if he would like to ride his bike to the park – he was so excited! He rode the whole way there and back. It was such an emotional moment for us as a family to watch Finley achieve this milestone – a milestone that we weren’t sure we could ever reach.

This wouldn’t have been possible without the Wheels Workshop, and the patience and perseverance of the amazing staff who support Finley each day. We are so grateful that he was able to achieve this, and the improvement in his confidence since learning to ride has been incredible. We’ve just purchased his first ‘big’ bike, which he had for his birthday yesterday and we can’t wait to go on lots of adventures as a family! 

Autism Wessex is registered in England & Wales under charity number 1000792 at Charity Hub, Portfield School, Parley Lane, Christchurch, BH23 6BP. We use cookies to improve your experience using this website.
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