Samah Darwish and Naser Alnaser describe their 6-year-old daughter Giselle Alnaser as a social and silly girl who loves music, going swimming and riding her Freedom Concepts adaptive bike.
“She’s very social, she loves being around other people, especially kids,” Samah said. “She has a silly sense of humor and she loves it when people act silly.”
Giselle was diagnosed with CAMK2B gene-related mutation when she was two years-old. The gene affects a certain protein that affects the communication between the brain and the nervous system.
“It’s a very rare disease that has only just recently been discovered, and the spectrum of symptoms is very wide,” Naser said.
Due to CAMK2B, Giselle has high muscle tone in her limbs and hands, and low muscle tone in her trunk and neck.
Giselle first tried a Freedom Concepts adaptive bike at school and liked it so much that Samah and Naser loaned a DCP 12 from the loaning program at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.
“We loaned the tricycle a couple of times and she loved it, so that’s when we decided to just buy one,” Samah said.
Samah and Naser worked with the team at Motion to order the adaptive bike and received funding for it through Special Services at Home.
Naser appreciates the support Giselle’s DCP 16 provides her with while riding.
“I really enjoy the support it gives the body overall,” Naser said. “She’s able to easily get onto the bicycle even though she doesn’t have good control over her body.”
Samah likes the adjustability of the handlebars because they make it easier for Giselle to grasp, and Giselle loves the unicorn squeaky horn.
Naser feels the adaptive bike works perfectly for Giselle because of the physical benefits it provides her.
“It gives her legs that flexibility and that range of motion for her muscles,” Naser said. “And at the same time she always tries to push herself up while she’s on it, which gives her the benefit of trying to strengthen her trunk and neck muscles.”
Naser said riding the bike came naturally for Giselle.
“With the repeated motions, she just immediately got the hang of it, even though she has the low muscle tone with low control over her legs, it still came naturally to her,” Naser said. “You can see how much she tries and she’s having fun at the same time.”
Naser said that sometimes it can be difficult to get Giselle interested in physical activities, but it came easily with the tricycle.
“We’re really happy to see her actually doing a physical activity,” Samah added. “She always has a lot of excess energy, and when she naps during the day I’m afraid she’ll stay up late at night, so I take her out on a ride on the tricycle to get out all that energy.”
Naser said that it’s great to see Giselle having fun while on her adaptive bike.
“You can see how excited she really is about it,” Naser said. “She loves riding with us on the rooftop of our condo or at the park.”
Click here to learn more about Freedom Concepts adaptive bikes.