A Twins' Story

Alec and Oliver Robertson are five year old identical twins. They live in Forster and love going to the beach.

Alec is very loving and joyous, a bit introverted and always likes to research the facts about things. He likes dinosaurs and being read to. Oliver is very extroverted, boisterous and a very happy little boy. He likes trains, being outdoors and has started horse riding. Both the boys like to play superheroes together. The boys have autism, a global developmental delay and Oliver has profound hearing loss.

These conditions affect the boys’ ability to process information and receive feedback from their body to do things. Exercise is recommended for the low muscle tone, low energy and strength, but these conditions can affect their ability to climb or ride a bike.

Suzanne, the boys’ mother, had started to think Alec and Oliver would never be able to ride a bike. They had bought numerous bikes over the years and had tried to make riding a part of a daily routine but it was very taxing. Suzanne would have to push the pedals to try to teach the boys, or lean over to push the bike. The boys couldn’t sit up for long periods and couldn’t balance even with training wheels.

‘I never thought they’d ever ride a bike. Not after what we’d tried and it was heart breaking. Oliver kept trying but Alec gave up and I never thought it would be a possibility,’ Suzanne says.

Suzanne then saw a Freedom Wheels bike at Northcott. She spoke to their physiotherapist and found that TAD was holding a regional assessment clinic in Forster and made an appointment that very day.

At the regional clinic, Brendan Worne the TAD Physiotherapist, had the boys try a smaller and larger bike with outriggers, larger seats, toe clips and a push bar. Both sizes suited the boys but Brendan recommended a 20 inch wheel so the boys wouldn’t have to upgrade as they grew up.

‘It made me cry to watch them ride and actually pedal themselves. My boys fell in love with the bikes! The TAD therapists were so nurturing and understanding and gently explained they’d get their own special bikes when the boys wanted to take home the trial ones,’ Suzanne says.

Alec and Oliver are still learning how to ride and build their muscles and hope to join their cousins soon and ride on the boardwalk at Forster.

When asked if she would recommend the Freedom Wheels bikes Suzanne says ‘for parents who want their kids to ride a bike, Freedom Wheels is a way they can. Don’t give up hope because the modifications just may be the difference.’

GIO is a Platinum Partner of the Freedom Wheels program and supported the family to have the two bikes at the same time.

Suzanne says, ‘Thanks for giving my boys the opportunity to ride with other kids. They’ve gone from just standing next to their bikes and pushing them along to actually riding them. It’s given them lots of confidence. When you tackle something it builds confidence to then go and try a new challenge.’