Earlier this month, Wooster students presented 5 year old Conner Curran with his very own car!
A group of 9th grade Wooster School students were successful in modifying yet another power wheels car for the Go Baby Go project. This is the second year that Wooster has supported Go Baby Go. During that time, students have built nearly a dozen modified vehicles for children with physical disabilities.
Each vehicle is modified to meet the needs of its particular driver, and students meet with each child and their family prior to designing the vehicle to better understand those needs. During these meetings, students take measurements, assess the challenges faced by each child, and ask questions to help them understand the environment where the child will be doing most of their driving. From there, students work to design a car that the child can drive on their own. They also take note of each child's "favorites," so the car will truly be one of a kind.
Conner was partial to Captain America and the color red, so the team had their color scheme in hand from the very beginning! "Before the students customized the car's aesthetics for Conner, they had to take a close look at the design," said Kim Gerardi, Makerspace teacher at Wooster, "Conner needed to operate the vehicle by the push of a button and a stick shift rather than holding down a pedal with his foot." Working as a team, Wooster students went through several designs before landing on the right one for Conner. "They ended up pulling the mechanism from a different car and attaching it to the toy SUV for Conner." The students really work hard to make these vehicles functional, safe, and special for each child. Conner's finished vehicle even came with its own juice box holder! "I am proud of this group of students because they were so dedicated to making this car the best they could for Conner. We can only hope for more Go Baby Go candidates to engage students in this meaningful program," added Gerardi.
Conner has been diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Wooster 9th grader Todd Blamires brought Conner's story to his classmate's attention. "We wanted to help him and we knew we had the opportunity with Go Baby Go," remarked Blamires. Todd also spear-headed an early morning pancake breakfast to raise money for research into the cause and a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. He presented the gift to Conner's dad the same day Conner got his new car.
About Go Baby Go
Started at the University of Delaware by Dr. Cole Galloway, Go Baby Go addresses the lack of assistive technologies, in particular wheelchairs, for children under the age of 3 with mobility problems.
To solve this problem, Dr. Galloway decided it best to play with toys -- electric toy cars, to be exact. By retrofitting a battery powered toy car, Dr. Galloway produced a mobility device that was fun, safe and effective. But his cars have an even greater benefit -- a degree of physical therapy. In one instance, a boy had to stand up to make his car go, which helped strengthen his leg muscles. The benefit of physical therapy is a key part of the Go Baby Go project and integral to the design of each vehicle.