By Renee Beasley Jones Messenger-Inquirer
Kids with mobility issues struggle to keep pace with peers and siblings, but the Go Baby Go program offers an out-of-the-box solution.
The national program teaches people how to modify off-the-shelf Power Wheels and other toy cars, morphing them into motorized wheelchairs of sorts for special-needs toddlers.
Motorized wheelchairs start at about $17,000. By comparison, the DIY Go Baby Go version costs about $200.
It is modified with items found in most garages, such as plastic pipe used for plumbing, pipe insulation, nuts and bolts. Modifications include easy-start buttons, seat supports, doors, and harnesses or straps for special-needs children.
According to Go Baby Go videos, the goal is to help disabled kids move and become more independent at the same age as their peers. Movement assists cognitive function and helps special-needs children assimilate.
The founder of Go Baby Go, James Galloway, a neuroscientist and physical therapist who is director of the Pediatric Mobility Lab and Design Studio and professor of physical therapy at the University of Delaware, will lead a workshop on July 28 at Wendell Foster. He will modify five “cars” for local children, who have been selected.
“We are very excited to have the founder come here to lead us in our first build,” said Cindy Huston, Wendell Foster’s director of the Technology and Resource Center.
In the future, Wendell Foster hopes to host Go Baby Go workshops once or twice a year.
The all-day workshop is geared toward engineers and physical, occupation and assistive-technology therapists who can earn seven hours of continuing education credits. The registration fee is $150.
Space is limited to 35 participants — seven people working on each car.
To register, go to https://wfcampus.givezooks.com/events/gobabygo-workshop-and-build