Local non-profit joins with summer camp to teach people with Down Syndrome, autism how to ride bikes

ORLANDO, Fla. — Statistically, only about 10 percent of kids with Down Syndrome, and 20 percent of those with autism ever learn to ride a bicycle.

For the last 10 years, the Down Syndrome Foundation of Florida has partnered with the iCan Shine bike camp program to help change that in Central Florida.

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“It’s really great for the families, for our riders, and it’s just a super fun week to come out here,” foundation board member Camille Gardiner says. “I feel like this week we kind of make the impossible possible.”

Each week, 40 potential riders- with the help of local volunteers- conquer the impossible. 75 percent of the campers who show up end the week able to ride.

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“It’s amazing, because honestly, some of these kids really don’t think they can do it...and then they come out of the camp so much more confident and independent as well,” volunteer Carissa Niccoli says.

Many of the graduates have even gone on to compete in triathlons, including Central Florida’s most famous Iron Man, Chris Nikic, who went through the iCan bike program.

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“They learned so much here, and to be able to take this skill, to use it to be in the community, to be healthy, to be included with their peers...it’s just a phenomenal week,” Gardiner says.

The iCan bike camps are held all over the country. It’s expected to return to Central Florida next summer.