Thanks to the efforts of their teacher Laurin Kennedy a group of students from Oakland’s Cole School came on their first field trip to BORP in March. All of the students from Cole are nonverbal and wheelchair users and none of them had ever cycled before. Everyone got on a bike for at least one lap around Aquatic Park, and everyone had a great time. We asked Laurin what she thought of their first BORP experience:
BORP had a wonderful and meaningful impact on the lives of each of my students. Adaptive cycling opened a whole new world to them that they’d never had the opportunity to explore before. Each of my students has moderate/severe physical and intellectual disabilities, so they each require specialized equipment to access physical activity. BORP provided that equipment for us, helped us select the most appropriate adaptive cycle for each student, and then organized and facilitated a ride. My students had a blast!
If I had to pick one student who enjoyed his time most, I would choose Darius. Darius suffers from a neurodegenerative illness that has steadily robbed him of his physical and cognitive abilities over time. In the past, he was a typically developing child who had control over his mind and body. As an adult, Darius is often frustrated because he cannot do the things he used to do as a young boy. When he was on the adaptive cycle, he seemed to be more happy and free that I’ve ever seen him. The cycle allowed him to move his legs in ways that he is unable to when he is confined to his wheelchair. He seemed to really enjoy the wind in his hair, moving his legs, and spending time with his mother, classmates, and teachers in a fun environment.
The best part of BORP’s cycling program is how invested the staff are to help our students. BORP transported our classroom to and from school using the Borp bus, took the time and energy to help us pick out the most appropriate equipment, helped lift/transfer our adult students using their in-house lift, and then supported us on an adaptive cycling ride. For 10 adult students, this is not an easy task. Everyone at Borp was so supportive and had a great attitude throughout our whole experience. That’s what really made our whole trip even more meaningful.