Apparently (according to received wisdom) it is unlikely that a child with Down’s Syndrome will ever learn to ride a bike.
Some maintain that ‘they’ can be taught, but only with difficulty.
But Freddie has decided that these rules don’t apply to him.
Stubbornly (because, to be honest, we’re rapidly coming to the conclusion that many of the stereotypes about Down’s are just a load of Old Wives’ Tales, like “Your middle finger is the one with all the poison in it” and “If you get shingles and they meet in the middle, you’ll die”) we bought him a bike anyway, on his last birthday. It’s been winter ever since, so, apart from scooting up and down the hall on it a couple of times, Freddie hasn’t ridden it.
Sunday was dry and summery-warm, so Big Sister dug it out of the shed and took Freddie out into the street to have a little go on it (it’s a quiet cul-de-sac, leading off a road pimpled with speed-humps, and Big Sister is a responsible sixteen, and Daddyvwas out front too, washing the car).
First she hopped on the bike herself to give Freddie a visual demonstration of pedalling. Then she put Freddie in the saddle, placed his feet on the pedals, gave his leading leg a push … And off he went. Five minutes flat is all it took for him to get the idea.
I’m thinking of hiring her out …