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Camp Helps Kids With Down Syndrome Learn To Ride Bikes

Updated: 06/18/2014 10:41 PM
Created: 06/18/2014 9:31 PM WDIO.com
By: Laurie Stribling
lstribling@wdio.com

Camps are a summer staple and at St. Scholastica a camp all about bikes just wrapped up.

"Strider bikes are balance bikes without pedals," Physical Therapy Assistant Professor Karen Swanson said.

The bike camp is for all kids, but there's a focus on helping kids with down syndrome.

"A lot of people believe that they can never learn how to ride a bike," Swanson said.

Swanson is working to shatter that stereotype. She said it's important for kids with down syndrome to be able to do the same things their siblings can do.

One biker at the camp Wednesday was Tanis. Her dad, Steven L. Halverson, said they gave her bike a special name.

"We named it Sven from the reindeer from Frozen," Halverson said.

Halverson even brought a carrot to help Sven, the bike, go faster.

"Kids with down syndrome are just like any other kids," Halverson said. "They enjoy Frozen. They enjoy biking. They enjoy being outside."

Physical therapy students helped teach the kids how to bike. Vanessa Blaney was one student teaching Tanis.

"She's always so happy and excited to work," Blaney said. "That's been really rewarding to see her smile."

Both Halverson and Swanson are part of Down Up North. That's a parent group that usually puts on the Step Up for Down Syndrome Walk. It's been going on for 12 years, but this year they didn't have enough volunteers to pull it off.

They hope that changes next year and they get more support. For more information on the Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota, click here.

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