Before I tell today's story, I first have to give a bit of history.
Two summers ago (2004), Kurtis was begging for a "blow up thing"... this is one of those inflatable bounce'a'rounds that you see at public events like Canada Day or at parties (like this at ToysRUS). Honestly, the child was asking for it for his birthday, asking if he had enough allowance to buy it himself, praying for it at night... you get the picture. In August 2004, Tom happened to see one of them on sale at Costco so he bought it and surprised the boys with it. This is one of the best purchases we have ever made. It got used virtually EVERY day (except for rain days) for the rest of the summer and early fall. In fact, we used it so well, it's practically falling apart now. But the best thing about it is how it developed Ryan's gross motor skills. Like many kids with Down syndrome ("DS"), Ryan's gross motor skills were delayed due to low muscle tone. He didn't start walking until just before his 2nd birthday and at the time, was having some trouble learning to jump. Well, after we got that inflatable, Ryan's gross motor skills started developing rapidly until now, his gross motor is his strongest area. His physio therapist couldn't believe the development over that fall. So truly, it was the best toy we have ever bought... it's a toy that's well used, enjoyed by little ones and bigger kids and it was an amazing tool to help Ryan.
That brings us to today's post. We have been working on teaching Ryan to ride a tricycle for a long time now. Last summer he finally got the hang of pedalling, but for some reason, he just didn't grasp the concept of steering. So he often ended up going nowhere... or going onto the grass (which stopped him)... or hitting the car (which also stopped him). We both got frustrated! Well,, now remember that go-cart that Tom bought for Kurtis? Tom's been teaching Ryan to ride it. He taught him to push the lever to go and to let go of it to slow down. But the most amazing thing (as you've probably guessed) is how quickly Ryan has learned to steer! I was watching him today and I was amazed at how well he steers it. He corners great and steers exactly where we ask him to. So I brought out the "new" two-wheeler bike with training wheels to try and my little boy surprised me once again. He's riding a two-wheeler!! AND steering it! So once again, a totally fun non-therapeutic toy proved to teach my little guy something in a VERY short time that we couldn't in months of work. Do you think Revenue Canada will let me claim it??