My son is 9 and recently moved up to a bigger bike with handbrakes. He is non verbal and has developmental disabilities but with a lot of work I did get him riding his smaller bike. He struggled with the pedal brakes on that as well and I didn't push the issue since he would eventually grow. He used his feet to stop himself. With his bigger bike he can go much faster and needs to brake.
He does not have the hand strength to work his handbrakes. Any suggestions on how to adjust the current ones, different levers, or different systems? Since we can't "talk" about the handbrakes I have to guess at the problem but they are either too tight to pull, he finds stretching his hand out that much uncomfortable, or he feels unsteady without his hands on the handlebars. Bike riding has been something we all do as a family and we are eager to get going this summer.