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ODU students build battery powered rides for kids with disabilities

Some children, because of their conditions and development delays, can't push pedals on the floor, so Old Dominion University students modified the cars to have a push-to-start button.

NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) — Several kids received a battery-operated toy car modified so that they can start the car with a push of a button.

The program is part of an initiative called GoBabyGo!, developed at the University of Delaware. The cars give children with little mobility the opportunity to play and explore rather than feeling stuck and dependent on others.

Old Dominion University therapeutic recreation and engineering students modified the off-the-shelf cars that kids drive to have a push-button start. Some children, because of their conditions and development delays, can’t push pedals on the floor.

Shelly Beaver is a lecturer for ODU’s therapeutic recreation students. She teaches her students how to work with people with disabilities in the community and in clinical settings.

Beaver said the students partnered with the local company called Coastal Prosthetics to build the cars.

“It was a one-day program. We began at 8 am and worked on the cars for about four hours until noon and then the kiddos arrived and we were able to share the cars with them,” said Beaver.

Madison Van Savage with Coastal Prosthetics said their company specializes in making prosthetics limbs and braces for kids, but this is their first time working with GoBabyGo!

“GoBabyGo! is a program that actually started at the University of Delaware. Instead of patenting the technology they’ve shared it with the rest of the country,” said Van Savage.

Meanwhile, students like Monica Lee who volunteered for the program said it was very rewarding.

“Us as therapeutic recreation students we want to see just kids with disabilities or people with disabilities, in general, be able to experience the same thing that other kids get to experience,” said Lee.

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