Modified toy cars to improve mobility

To read on People website:

Toy Cars Give Children with Disabilities the Freedom to Move

toy cars

A child takes a test drive in a modified Go Baby Go car
Courtesy UD Go Baby Go

By Tierney McAfee   06/09/2015

Two-year-old Ellie Stafford has Down syndrome, and she hasn’t learned to walk or crawl yet. But thanks to a program that turns ordinary toy cars into personalized vehicles for young children with disabilities – she’s unstoppable.Ellie was one of 10 Oregon children who recently got the chance to test drive and take home modified toy cars designed to empower children with mobility challenges to play and socialize more independently, Oregon’s Statesman Journal reports.They were gifted the life-altering cars as part of a program called Go Baby Go, which benefits kids with a range of diagnoses – including Down syndrome, spina bifida and cerebral palsy.

Commercial wheelchairs for children under three can cost $30,000 and are often not covered by insurance policies, explains Sam Logan, an assistant professor at Oregon State University who established the program at the school, after it was originally founded at the University of Delaware. In the meantime, these children can suffer setbacks in cognitive, language and social development, he explains.

« There’s no reason kids with disabilities shouldn’t have a right to be mobile, » says Logan, who has given nine Go Baby Go trainings across the country since September.

On Wednesday, Oregon State University trained a group of Willamette Education Service District (WESD) clinicians in Salem, Oregon, to alter off-the-shelf, ride-on toy cars using plastic pipes, plastic foam swim noodles, kick boards, fabric fasteners and an activation switch.

The results were awe-inspiring. Toddler Ellie, who usually scoots on her bottom to get around, steered her car confidently around obstacles as her father, Jesse Stafford, clapped and recorded her ride.

She’ll be able to keep up with her 6- and 8-year-old brothers now, her father told the Statesman Journal.

The cars, which cost a total of $200 a piece, can be modified to meet individual children’s needs. One of the kids who received a car, 2-year-old Libbi Cotter, has a congenital heart defect that requires her to be connected to an oxygen tank at all times. Clinicians used fabric fasteners to modify her car to haul the tank behind it.

Two-year-old Libbi, who was adopted from China a year ago, just started crawling two or three months ago, says her father, Mark Cotter.

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Thanks @PTINebraska to have drawn my attention on this article.

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