The effects of a bicycle training intervention on health, physical activity, sleep, & community participation in youth with Down syndrome and autism spectrum disorders.


The 3-year study involves a randomized trial design to determine the effects of an individualized bicycle training intervention on functional performance, time spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity, patterns of sleep, and community participation and integration of 160 youth with Down syndrome (DS) and autism spectrum disorder, aged 9-18 years. Participants who are randomly assigned to the Experimental group (EXP) will receive the bicycle training during the first year while the Control group (CON) will not receive the bicycle training until the second year but will receive alternative educational or community based lessons while they wait. All participants will be measured on three occasions: pre-training ,12 month post training, and 24 months post training. Specific hypotheses will be tested comparing the EXP and CON groups. After receiving their bicycle training intervention, participants in the EXP and CON groups will be monitored for 24 months to help determine the frequency of bicycle riding, environmental factors that influence the frequency of bike riding, the frequency of falls, their pattern of night time sleep, the amount of time they spend in sedentary, light, moderate and vigorous physical activity, self and parent perceptions of their riding skill, with whom they ride with, where in the community they ride their bicycle and what other activities they participate in, in their community. At entry into the study, none of the participants will be able to ride a two-wheel bicycle.

Research sites are located in Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, and South Bend. To be eligible to participate children cannot currently be able to ride a two wheel bike, must be in the age range of 9-18 years, must have a confirmed diagnoses of Down syndrome or autism spectrum disorder, and must not display frequent disruptive behavior when participating in a group environment.

Contact: Information on this study can be received by calling 734-615-1904 or email

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