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Program adapts motorized toy cars for children with disabilities

Toy companies do not always design their products with disabled children in mind. For example, no motorized cars on the market currently can be driven around by children living with significant physical challenges.

However, a nationwide project called Go Baby Go has a way to let disabled toddlers enjoy the fun and developmental benefits of zooming around in their own toy cars. Go Baby Go modifies existing cars to accommodate a child’s limitations, allowing the child to drive him- or herself.

For example, Go Baby Go might rewire the car so that it has an on/off switch and add large buttons on the steering wheel. The organization has 40 sites around the world operating with the help of local nonprofit groups, engineers, researchers and so on. The original location has adapted about 500 toy cars.

The purpose of the project is more than allowing children to feel more included in playtime, though that is a factor. A professor who works with Go Baby Go said that having “active control of your environment” at a young age is associated with development in cognition and social, motor and language skills. Disabled children who cannot crawl or walk may lose out on this vital ability to explore the world around them, but with a Go Baby Go car they don’t have to, the professor said.

Tools and therapies to help children with disabilities are often not cheap. Parents with limited income may struggle to provide everything their son or daughter needs. Fortunately, Supplemental Security Income can help low-income families ensure that their disabled child does not have to do without.

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