Freedom Wheels

A couple of months ago I was fortunate to be introduced to the work of TADACT, a voluntary organisation in Canberra.
TADACT is “a non for profit organization which specialises in creating or modifying equipment for people with a disability or the elderly. TADACT can assist people of any age with any type of disability by designing and making innovative equipment which is otherwise unavailable. We can also modify or repair commercially available equipment to make it better suits the client’s needs. The equipment is made and modified by our skilled volunteers who donate their time to provide innovative solutions to problems.”
TADACT’s mission is “to improve the quality of life for people with a disability of all ages and the elderly and those caring for them through the application of technology”.
I have been very impressed by TADACT’s commitment to and support of social inclusion. One aspect of this work has grabbed my intention. In one of my visits to the organisation’s offices in Holder, I saw some bicycles in a storage room.

The bikes intrigued me. I have a profound commitment to play and playfulness in children’s lives and these bikes epitomise play. As I followed up on these beauties stored in a cupboard I learned more about TADACT’s role in providing bikes and the partnership with Freedom Wheels.
TADNSW host the scheme and point out that:

For most children, their first bike ride is a rite of passage. But for children with a disability, this can seem unachievable.

They developed Freedom Wheels as a customised bike program in collaboration with Amway’s One by One Foundation, to offer children with disabilities the opportunity to ride a bike for the first time.
TADNSW’s healthcare and engineering staff assess each child at a bike clinic and write a specification for a bike that will meet their exact needs. This may include stabiliser wheels, postural supports, belts, footcups, towbars and modified handlebars.This service is available to any child with a disability. There is no means test.
I was driving into Canberra last week and was overtaken by a Freedom Wheels van.
It was raining but I am convinced I saw sunshine coming out of the van!
Amway point out that “the vision is that the FREEDOM WHEELS program will expand and be offered nationally. How wonderful it will be to provide modified bikes for children in all states across Australia!” (See what is happening in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania in addition to NSW and the ACT.)
Freedom Wheels Modified Bike Service is included as a case study in the NSW BikePlan. I am very keen to make Freedom Wheelers a focus for my research and practice. Mobility is inclusive, play is contagious!



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