“I didn’t want Charlie missing out on being able to ride a bike, like any other boy.”
Charlie lives with his family in Lisburn, Northern Ireland. He was born with Cerebral Palsy and has also been diagnosed with learning difficulties and autism. From age three onwards, Charlie was keen to join in on activities, like pedalling ride-on cars with his cousins, but he was unable to do so due to his lack of motor skills. Charlie’s dad, Chris, was adamant that Charlie wouldn’t miss out on similar activities like being able to ride a bike, so contacted his physiotherapist to try and work out a solution. This is when the family was introduced to Tomcat Trikes, and their local distributors, the John Preston Healthcare Group, Lisburn.
Charlie has very little awareness of danger, on top of his mobility issues and potentially explosive behaviour. For everyone to feel confident with Charlie on the trike, it needed:
- To have an external method of control
- To be stable and keep Charlie safe
- To be transportable
Gary Allen, Product Specialist and Sales Manager at John Preston, carried out the assessment at Charlie’s home, using his expert knowledge of Tomcat trikes to assess what support Charlie would need. On the demo trikes, Charlie was able to use the pedals on his first attempt, something that his dad says he will remember forever. The Carer Control™ creates the illusion of independent cycling for Charlie, while allowing his dad to maintain control and keep Charlie safe. The Two-Piece frame is easy to dismantle, with no need for tools, making family cycling trips easy and accessible, and Gary has also come out to adjust the trike if and when necessary, continuing to provide the stellar service seen from John Preston.
The most notable impact of using the trike has been as a therapy tool to manage Charlie’s more explosive autistic traits. Charlie struggled to express himself, which was emotionally difficult, and the trike allows him to calm down in a safe, controlled way. He can use up his explosive energy and benefits not only from the exercise, but also the positive impact on his mental health overall. Chris commented that:
“We’ve seen a definite difference in Charlie since he’s been riding his trike so we want to continue his therapy both physical and mental and we believe only a Tomcat trike is fit for purpose.”