Instructables
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Adaptive tricycles for children with physical and cognitive challenges can be hard to find and even harder to afford. The adaptive tricycle we built for our son helped us get his legs moving as he recovers from a stroke that exacerbated the physical difficulties caused by his genetic disorder.

We took an off-the-shelf tricycle (Ybike Evolve) and attached a seatbelt, heel cups (foot plates), and a handlebar, all for about $25 in parts (plus some things that were just lying around the house) and with no tools except a drill, a screwdriver, and a small wrench.

 
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Step 1: Attaching heel cups (i.e. foot plates)

Picture of Attaching heel cups (i.e. foot plates)
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Foot plates are fiendishly expensive if you buy them online. Instead, we bought a pair of oversized Mary Janes (girl's shoes) that fit over our son's shoes and braces. Check the clearance rack at your local big box store. These were about $5.

We cut the toes off and attached (with staples) a little extra Velcro to the Velcro strap so that it would be long enough to still attach over his bulky shoes.

We then drilled holes in the shoes and the pedals, and used countersunk bolts and nuts to attach the shoes to the pedals (nuts go on the pedal side). The countersunk bolts lie flat in the Mary Jane, so they don't catch on his shoes. This (and the next step) is where you need the small wrench. The bolts we bought were a little too long (they would scrape on the ground), so we cut them, but you could get around this by getting the right length bolts at the start.

These keep the child's feet in place if they do not have the strength or muscle control to keep their feet on the pedals themselves.

NOTE: Your child will not be able to pull their feet out. Please consider if this is safe for your child.

mnmama4 months ago

What a great idea, thrifty and life enriching. Your son has a handy daddy. Looks like he really enjoys it too. Have fun.

mollytricycle (author)  mnmama4 months ago

Mama dreamed up these adaptations. Daddy ran the drill. Team effort!

Great job to Mom too! Well done.

Susitna4 months ago
I have a friend who does behavioral therapy for autistic children. Autism often incudes severe motor deficits. May I give her a copy of these instructions? Zahra has done so much for my best friend's daughters. I have been looking for a way to thank her. I have another friend with aa autistic son that I plan to try to make one of theese for. Thank you for getting my brain cells going.



mollytricycle (author)  Susitna4 months ago
Please feel free to pass these instructions on to anyone who might use them! We shared these instructions freely online so that other special needs families could experience the same benefits that we are enjoying.

Hooray for You!!! After many years of working as support staff in a Rehab Center, I have seen many adaptations of this nature done by Physical and Occupational Therapists, who also go to stores such as Home Depot to obtain materials. The only limitation seems to be the imagination of the person doing the fixing, and the needs of the patient. It would have cost many hundreds of dollars to have this done professionally. My only advice would be to have your son's therapist take a look and make sure the movements and exercise are safe for him in light of his health conditions. Bless you and good luck with future projects!

Our son's physical therapist has seen him on it and has given her enthusiastic stamp of approval. It's always a good idea to have a child's therapist evaluate the safety and appropriateness of any adaptive equipment. I'll add a note in the instructable that says this. Thanks for bringing up this important point!

jmyers14 months ago
This was well thought out and executed. Parents of special kids are extra crafty, I've found. :)
BLR_RAVI4 months ago
creative and effective...i liked you idea of safety..
mimimama4 months ago
Cute boy!! He will like to see how you did this when he's grown up. Thanks for sharing.
贾瑜函4 months ago
外国真好
jessyratfink4 months ago

Fantastic! Using the mary janes as foot plates was so smart and thrifty. :)

livichris4 months ago
Great job, really love instructables that make a difference to people's lives! Well done.
ckoehler19044 months ago

Way cool! Thanks for sharing. Well thought-out and designed. Your son is fortunate to have you two as his parents.