Hawkins Family Grant: Go Baby Go! Using Engineering and Adaptive Technology to Modify Ride-On Cars for Children with Limited Mobility

  • School Year: 2019-2020
  • Applicants: Michael Wilkosz, Lead Teacher & Anthony Truss (Conard), Sebastian Fortuna (Hall), Nicholas Adler (Sedgwick), Nevin Picard (King Philip)
  • School: Hall High School
  • Subjects: Math, Physical Health Education, Science, Technology, Other

"Go Baby Go!" is an example of what is broadly referred to as "toy hacking", or the adaption of commercially available toys for children with special needs. Through this project, toy ride-on cars are purposefully modified for use by children with mobility limitations, thereby empowering them to participate in play with their peers. In April 2015, Central Connecticut State University held its first "Go Baby Go!" workshop where students adapted eight off-the-shelf, electric toy cars so they could be used by children with disabilities who were present that day with their families. CCSU has since collaborated with over a dozen more build events where faculty and college students have worked with middle and high school students across the state to provide adapted ride-ons to over 75 children with disabilities. This grant serves to establish a partnership between West Hartford Public Schools and the Central C.A.R.E.S. club. Two Go Baby Go! build events are planned for the spring of 2020 in West Hartford. Students at King Philip, Bristow and Sedgwick Middle Schools and Hall and Conard High Schools will join a growing base of volunteers and work to enhance the lives of children with special needs by bringing them mobility in the form adapted, electric ride-on cars.

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