Lagan Valley LeisurePlex has been the venue of the recent six week ‘Freewheelers’ programme delivered by Autism Initiatives.
Alderman Paul Porter, Chairman of the Council’s Leisure Services Committee was delighted to attend the young people’s last coaching session at which they received their certificates.
The young children who attended the training have had a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Condition and clients of Autism Initiatives aged between five and 15 years of age.
This is the first time such a programme has taken place in the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust area.
Mr Porter, speaking about the programme, said: “It was a delight to start my Saturday by spending time watching thirty young children with an autism spectrum condition show off the cycling skills they had learned over the past six weeks. The development of the participants in terms of motor skills, balance and co-ordination is amazing; and I would like to commend the children, the coaches and the parents.
“Not only have these young people, whose parents I am sure thought may never ride a bicycle, learnt to cycle but they have also gained confidence and improved self-esteem.”
Lisburn City Council is delighted that it was able to play host to this fantastic initiative that helps young people with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Condition gain some independence.
MLA Jonathan Craig, Vice-Chair of the All-Party Group on Autism, visited the programme.
He said: “This is a fantastic programme and it is great to see the children and their parents having such a fun time together.
Siobhan Slavin, ASD Coordinator for the South Eastern HSCT said: “Individuals and their families affected by ASC can miss out on activities which other families take for granted.
“Helping to support the delivery of this ‘Learn to Cycle’ programme has been really worthwhile. The progression for all the children has been wonderful to see, the health benefits as well as the individual confidence building, is something we always try to promote.”