New OSU Program Provides the Gift of Mobility

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This cute little guy is named Dylan and he is 19 months old. Photo credit: Alan Calvert, Coordinator for Web and Social Media, College of Public Health and Human Sciences

Imagine yourself as a child, running through the neighborhood, pulling up grass, rolling down hills, or simply exploring your backyard. Think about the first time you touched a bug or played with your first pet, all while having the freedom to run, crawl, jump, slide, and just play.

Now imagine that same childhood, but add in a wheelchair. You can’t run or jump, you can’t bend down to touch that bug or get out of the chair to roll down the hill. Maybe you are one of many children whose parents can’t afford an expensive motorized wheelchair, so they carry you everywhere. Even at 6 months to a year of age, children with developmental or physical disabilities begin to feel what it is like to be trapped in a body that they can’t control, to be passive explorers of their world. Thankfully, a new program has arrived in Corvallis which addresses this exact need.

Go Baby Go is a program providing motorized exploration cars to children aged 6 months to 3 years. Go Baby Go was founded at the University of Delaware by Cole Galloway, PT, PhD. The program consists of providing children with modified ride-on cars to use as a powered mobility device.

Dr. Sam Logan has recently brought this project to Oregon State University in order to provide local families with another option for their children. The lab at OSU is equipped to modify 6-volt, Lightning McQueen model cars. Dr. Logan meets with families to determine how and if a car will fit the needs of their child. Once a match is made, the family comes to OSU for a final car fitting and test driving session—and they get to take their car home that day. But the best part: These cars are free to the families, thanks to funding provided by the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at OSU.

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Dr. Logan receives help from 10 undergraduate students, as well as several faculty members, all of whom volunteer their time to make this program a success. The students meet weekly to work on the cars, and make adjustments to fit individual car needs. At the end of the process, they are invited to the test-driving session to see their work in action. The children really take to their new cars and love to be able to explore the world on their own.

The Go Baby Go club is open to anyone who is interested in helping out. Right now, the club is especially looking for someone with experience in electrical work who could help with creating the next generation of modifications.

Monetary donations are always appreciated, and can be made to the OSU Foundation account included at the end of this article. Each car costs around $200 to make, and the program is currently looking for more funding options to keep the project going into the next academic year.

You can get more information on becoming involved, or even receiving a car for your child, by emailing Dr. Sam Logan at sam.logan@oregonstate.edu. You can also visit http://health.oregonstate.edu/gobabygo.

How to Donate:
Checks can be made payable to “OSU Foundation” and designated to the Social Mobility Lab in the memo line. Checks can be sent to: OSU Foundation, 850 35th St., Corvallis, OR 97333.

If an individual prefers to donate online, they can visit OSU’s secure online giving site at https://securelb.imodules.com/s/359/campaign/index.aspx?sid=359&gid=34&pgid=1982&cid=3007. Select Option 1 – “I’m Making a Gift.” Then, make sure to type “Social Mobility Lab” in the “Area you’d like to support.” This will make sure that the funds come to the Go Baby Go program.

— Kyra Young

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