SPECIAL TOY: Car Helps Kids With Disabilities

Kids can have a tough time getting around for a variety of reasons, and being stuck in one spot makes it hard to explore and learn about the world around you. One mom helped her daughter get moving.

Anna likes looking at books and trying to say words, but the 15 month-old born with Down Syndrome is still working on getting around. Mom Kristi Allison says, “She’s able to get in and out of sitting, and she’s able to army crawl, but she does not like to stand. And, she is not able to crawl on her hands and knees yet.”

And, since this toddler can’t yet put one foot in front of the other, her mom decided to put her behind the wheel. Showing a “Towmater” car, Allison says, “It motorizes the car so children with disabilities can drive and explore their environment.”

Allison is also a physical therapist for the Heartland Area Education Agency. She learned about the accessible car at the AEA Conference last year and decided to make one for her daughter. She says, “I learned about the research the Go Baby Go people were doing with motorized cars.”

The “Towmater” care came from a regular toy store, but Allison added the big red switch and PVC pipe to make it more accessible for her daughter.

Allison says, “They can go where they want to go, but it also gives them the ability to explore their environment that you wouldn’t necessarily have if you’re not able to move on your own.”

Allison made the car with the help of online videos from the company Go Baby Go. It cost about $200 for the supplies. Physical therapists with the Heartland AEA made three for families to borrow. And, more will be in production and this year’s conference.

Allison says, “PT’S from all across the state from different AEA’s will be there. And, they’re all bringing their supplies. And, they’re going to build cars, and they’re going to be able to take them back and check them out to children who would benefit from them.”

About 60 physical therapists work for Area Education Agencies around the state and will be at the conference making cars on Friday.

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