PORTLAND, Ore. – Oregon State University will host a “Go Baby Go” workshop on Friday, May 1, in Portland, as part of a national program that provides modified, ride-on toy cars to young children with disabilities so they can move around independently.
The event is the first to be held in Portland since Go Baby Go expanded to OSU last year, and will be from noon to 4:30 p.m. at Jefferson High School. Spaces are still available, and attendance is free but advance registration is required.
Parents, volunteers and clinicians such as physical therapists will learn to adapt toy cars for children with a variety of special needs. Some cars also will be available for children and their families to test-drive and take home that day.
The modified cars give children with spina bifida, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and other mobility disabilities a chance to play and socialize with their peers more easily, said Sam Logan, an assistant professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences, and OSU leader of the Go Baby Go project.
Being pushed in a stroller or being carried from one place to another is fundamentally different from having active control over one’s own exploration, which is where the developmental gains are seen, Logan said.
“We want to provide that movement experience as early as possible, so they can reap the benefits,” said Logan, whose research focuses on providing technology and training to children with disabilities to promote social mobility. “Beyond mobility and socialization, we hope that the ride-on cars provide children with disabilities a chance to just be a kid.”
There are no commercially available devices for children with mobility issues to get around on their own, and power wheelchairs usually aren’t an option until the children are older. The modified cars provide them independence at a much younger age and at a relatively low cost.
At the workshop, people can attend simply to get more information; to learn how to build a car; or even to build and take home a car at the end of the day. Parents who can’t attend the building workshop, but would like a car for their child, can arrive at 3 p.m. for a fitting and test-driving session with the child.
Anyone interested in obtaining a car at the event is asked to purchase a car and switch in advance. All other supplies will be provided. For additional information about the car options and the switch needed, contact Logan at Sam.firstname.lastname@example.org. Families who need financial assistance to purchase a car should also contact Logan.
The workshop will be held in the Jefferson High School old gym, Room B24, 5210. N. Kerby Ave. Reservations must be submitted by Monday, April 27, to Logan and event coordinator Juli Valeske, email@example.com.
Additional workshops are expected to be held in the Portland area in the coming months. Family members, clinicians or others interested in attending a future workshop or obtaining a car should contact Logan.