Sparkt Bridges

Students Give Special Needs Children the Gift of Mobility

Go Baby Go program provides modified vehicles to kids

This story is part of a bi-weekly series that celebrates people who are reaching across a divide to "build bridges" with those different from themselves. The Sparkt Bridges series is made possible with the support of UPMC.

Your child is born with Spina Bifida, Cerebral Palsy, or another disability that keeps them from walking. What do you do? This is a real scenario for some families, their baby boy or girl born with limited mobility.

These kids are often left watching other children run and jump and play, without the ability to join in. It's rough for the kids and the parents. That's where a project called Go Baby Go comes in.

Go Baby Go is an international program, founded by a professor at the University of Delaware as part of a research project. The university has now trained volunteers in more than 40 communities all over the world to expand the availability of the program's modified cars.

Michaela Golden and Lynne Gillott are the student co-president's of the Chatham Go Baby Go chapter . "For these kids, they're suffering from things like chronic disabilities and mobility is a huge thing," said Golden. "They can't get around their neighborhood, they can't get around that park. We just want to provide that for them and it's our responsibility as student physical therapists to restore that quality of life."

"We hope that ride-on cars provide children with disabilities a chance to just be a kid."

Programs purchase the cars for roughly $100 each on and spend an additional $100 per car for the modifications which allow the children to drive the car, and parents to guide it with a wireless remote control.

Go Baby Go ambassadors say these cars fill a void for young children with special needs. There are no commercially available devices for young children with mobility issues to get around on their own. Power wheelchairs cost thousands of dollars and usually aren't an option until the children are older.

Here's how you can get involved:

(Additional images: University of Delaware Go Baby Go Facebook page )

The Sparkt Bridges Project is produced with the generous support of UPMC. Life Changing Medicine.

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