Power Wheels Offer Lift For Kids With Special Needs

Toddler Christopher Roe zoomed across the room in a motorized car, stopping in front of grown-up Sam Logan to share a giggle and reach out for a high-five.

As Christopher’s mother, Lauryn Roe, watched him operate the toy on his own, she smiled and wiped away tears.

She and other helpers spent part of a recent afternoon modifying the Fisher-Price Power Wheels car so it could be driven by the 1 1/2-year-old boy, who has a severe form of spina bifida and can’t walk without help.

“With this, he’s able to do more, and to do it on his own, and that’s the biggest blessing,” she said. “Something most people take for granted is something he’s fighting so hard for — his independence.”

Roe was among a group of parents, therapists, researchers, toy-company executives, disability professionals and others who gathered in Columbus, Ohio to adapt toy cars as part of a workshop presented by Go Baby Go. The project was founded in 2011 by University of Delaware pediatric researcher Cole Galloway, who sought to create a modification that families of children with disabilities could afford and do on their own.

Logan, an assistant professor from Oregon State University and Go Baby Go collaborator, said there’s no commercially-available device to allow children with disabilities ages 3 or younger to get around.

“You see gains in cognition, motor, social and language from having that active control of your environment,” Logan said. “So for babies and toddlers who don’t have that opportunity, because they can’t crawl or walk because of some physical disability, they’re able to get that exploration and access.”

Read the rest of this article, posted on Disability Scoop, here.