: Ready to Ride
This month, iCan Shine comes to town, teaching dozens of disabled locals to ride bikes
For many of us, ditching the training wheels was a rite of passage, but children with Down syndrome rarely get that chance. Currently, only about 10 percent of people with the condition can ride a bike independently. This month, the Down Syndrome Association of the Lowcountry (DSAL) brings national nonprofit iCan Shine to Charleston to beat those odds.
ICan Shine puts on week-long camps for people eight and older with disabilities—including autism and cerebral palsy. From July 22 to 26 at the North Charleston Coliseum, some 40 locals climb aboard bicycles with rollers in place of back tires. As trained staffers help participants improve, the rollers become more tapered; finally a wheel is subbed in. After five sessions, 80 percent of campers are riding solo on standard bikes.
“The goal is to change lives, teaching individuals with disabilities a skill that builds self-confidence, provides inclusion with their peers, and opens the door to recreational and professional opportunities,” says DSAL president Julia Slattery.
Pphotographs (kids-2) Courtesy of Down Syndrome Association of the LowCountry