It’s wonderful to see a child joyfully play, socialize, and explore the world around them. Frequently for children with disabilities, though, these things can be a challenge due to mobility impairments. However, an ingenious program called Go Baby Go has a brilliant solution. With custom Go Baby Go cars, kids with disabilities have the freedom to drive and enjoy life.
Custom Go Baby Go cars: Children can explore their world independently
Founded by Professor Cole Galloway for a research project at the University of Delaware, the Go Baby Go program creates custom toy cars for children with mobility disabilities. The modified Go Baby Go cars enable the kids to independently play, explore their surroundings, and socialize with other children.
Kids touch sensors on Go Baby Go cars to move them forward
As Professor Galloway explains, volunteers in the Go Baby Go program “hack” the toy cars — or adapt them to “whatever the brain wants.” Specifically, they modify the cars with sensors at various points according to the unique needs of each child. When a kid touches the sensor, the car moves forward.
“If they are old enough to communicate or able to move, they’ll show us what they want to do. For example, your child may come in [with] their head completely down. Everybody recognizes that they don’t have head control. I put a switch on the back so when he hits it, he goes forward. He shows you for the next 35 minutes, ‘Well, I’ve got head control.’ How do you do that? Do his muscles all of a sudden start to work and his brain lights up. No, he’s had head control. He hasn’t had a reason to hold his head up.”– Professor Cole Galloway, founder of Go Baby Go program
With the mission of “All people exploring their world via independent mobility,” the Go Baby Go program trains volunteers to modify toy cars. There are Go Baby Go sites in more than 40 communities in the United States and other countries, along with satellite programs.
Benefits of Go Baby Go cars for children with mobility disabilities
The custom Go Baby Go cars are beneficial for children with mobility disabilities that are between the ages of six months and three years. Additionally, preschool children could benefit from the modified toy cars as well.
The benefits of the Go Baby Go cars are numerous. Previous research shows that independent mobility provides cognitive, motor, language, social, and other developmental benefits for young children. With the Go Baby Go cars, kids with disabilities learn:
- How to move independently
- Problem solving skills
- Motor development
- Play skills and socialization
- How to stay focused on an activity
The world of cars is at its best when it connects people and pushes the boundaries of what’s possible — whether through engineering or exploration. That’s the beauty of Go Baby Go cars, for they facilitate these two things for kids with mobility disabilities. With the modified toy cars, it’s amazing to see the children come to life, drive, and engage their world in exciting new ways.
This article was updated on 7/24/2022.