“It’s changed his life and ours.”
Nathan’s parents first came across the potential benefits of cycling for their autistic, epileptic son when he was about three years old. Over the course of Nathan’s childhood, they considered many different options of adapted trikes, but it quickly became clear that the lack of adequate carer supervision on most made it difficult to find something suitable.
For Nathan to be able to use the trike properly, it needed:
- To have a way to keep Nathan safe in high-risk situations
- To be something Nathan was enthusiastic about using
- To be something the family could fund properly
Due to the level of supervision required, it was decided that Tomcat was the only option, owing to the innovative design of the Carer Control™ handle that would allow Nathan’s parents to steer and brake, if necessary. The family made an application to the Caudwell Trust for funding and the trike was soon delivered and ready to use.
Unfortunately, Nathan really struggled to use the trike at first, becoming easily frustrated and difficult when he didn’t understand what he was doing. After several fruitless attempts, his parents decided to put the trike into storage, where it remained for about eighteen months.
When it was brought out again, much to everyone’s surprise, Nathan went straight onto the trike and started to pedal without any encouragement. It quickly became clear, through Nathan’s non-verbal communication, that he loved riding the trike, and the family were averaging about thirteen miles a week. Though Nathan eventually outgrew the trike, his parents bought a second-hand one that lasted another five years.
The benefits of Nathan’s trike have been limitless, both physically and mentally. He has been able to build muscle tone in his legs, and the strength built through cycling has helped his overall mobility. It has also transformed how he is able to socialise and interact with other people, and is a fun, healthy alternative to his wheelchair, which people can often overlook.
In 2018, when attending an event at a school in Nottingham, Nathan’s parents met Martin Griffiths, and Nathan was able to try out the Bullet.
“We saw the Bullet and were totally blown away by it. Nathan took to it like a duck to water.”
A Just Giving Page was created to raise funds for a Bullet, and within two months, the family had the funds, thanks to the local community. The Bullet has enabled Nathan to go on rides with his family for the first time, something likely to continue for many years to come.