Biking to Build a Special Community

Published: May 28 2020

In the United States, 6.4 million children between the ages of 4-17 have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and about 1 in 54 children are identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Those statistics are heightened at Ledyard Middle School in Gales Ferry, CT, where one-third of the student population receives either special education services or 504 accommodations for ADHD, autism, learning disabilities, or emotional needs. Kristen is a veteran special education teacher and recreational cyclist. When the Connecticut Cycling Advancement Program came to her school five years ago suggesting that cycling could help children focus and also improve academic performance, Kristen took the handle bars and now coaches the largest school bike club in the state. Listen to how she built a collaborative community among special education students and those from transient military families, members of the nearby Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, and the general student population of the local middle and high schools; and how she plans to expand the program with a Fund for Teachers grant.