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GoBabyGo students unveil latest adapted vehicles for local kids with physical challenges

Nov 21, 2019

Description of the following video:

[Video: Two IUPUI students are carrying a GoBabyGo kid-sized car through an open inside workspace. Each is carrying one end of the purple mini SUV. Later, they set the car on a table.]

[Video: Various IUPUI students who are working on the GoBabyGo project are seen helping assist with the build of the toy cars. Some students are working on computers. Some are modifying the cars.]

Sara Davis, director of GoBabyGo, speaks in voiceover: Once a kiddo has been accepted to get a GoBabyGo car, we sit down with a team of mechanical engineering students, physical therapy students and occupational therapy students, and what they do is they see what their …

[Video: Davis appears on camera.]

[Words appear: Sara Davis, Director of GoBabyGo at IUPUI]

Davis speaks: … mobility looks like, what their specific goals are from a mobility perspective …

[Video: Several GoBabyGo cars are seen in a large classroom. Each car is on a table, being worked on by IUPUI students.]

[Video: A large computer screen is shown. A Word document appears on the screen with various notes about toy car modifications.]

[Video: Two IUPUI students use a computer. They are both standing while using the device.]

Davis speaks in voiceover: … and then they help decide what modifications need to be made to that car.

[Video: An IUPUI alum wires a steering wheel that will be used in a GoBabyGo car.]

[Video: Two IUPUI students attach a steering wheel to a GoBabyGo car.]

[Video: Two IUPUI students begin attaching seat belts to a GoBabyGo car.]

[Video: A close-up of a toy steering wheel is shown. It is being wired.]

Davis speaks in voiceover: Then we have a huge build day. We’ve purchased all of the materials that we need, and then we have a team for each car that needs to be modified that actually does the modifications for that vehicle.

[Video: Davis appears on camera.]

Davis speaks: We pick a vehicle that is specific to the child that we’re building it for.

[Video: Several GoBabyGo cars are seen in a large classroom. Each car is on a table, being worked on by IUPUI students.]

[Video: A close-up of the back of a GoBabyGo car is shown. It was designed to look like a convertible. It is pink.]

[Video: Two IUPUI students work together to evenly apply tape to part of a GoBabyGo toy car.]

[Video: A seat is removed from a GoBabyGo car.]

[Video: One IUPUI student holds a sheet of stickers that will be used on a GoBabyGo car.]

[Video: An IUPUI student adjusts the seat belt in a blue GoBabyGo car.]

[Video: An IUPUI student uses a tape measure to measure the length of a seat inside a GoBabyGo car.]

[Video: An IUPUI student uses a tape measure to draw a straight line on a piece of foam.]

[Video: A little girl is shown while she drives her GoBabyGo car. Her car looks like a miniature Mini Cooper. It is white and has the number 5 on it. The number is pink.]

[Video: A young boy is helped by two IUPUI students while he drives his GoBabyGo car. His car looks like a miniature Hummer. It is gray. On the front of the car is the child’s name, “Saleem.” Beneath that is the number 5. His name is in red, and the number is in orange.]

Davis speaks in voiceover: We pick it depending upon how big the kid is, how much the child weighs, what their goals are, how many modifications we’re going to make. We add stickers. We pick their favorite colors. We add something that makes it really personal, so that when they see their car, A – they know it’s theirs, and B – they want to be in it.

[Video: A little boy is shown driving his GoBabyGo car. His car looks like a miniature Jeep. It is blue.]

[Video: Several young children play with an electric car track. Two little boys are controlling the cars on the track with handheld devices. The other children watch as the boys play.]

[Video: Kim, the mother of a GoBabyGo recipient, walks her son, Bo, inside the GoBabyGo facility.]

Davis speaks in voiceover: Then we have a huge play day, where all of the kids get their cars. They get the opportunity to learn how to drive them. They get to practice driving them.

[Video: Kim, Brad and Bo appear on camera.]

[Words appear: Kim and Brad; Bo’s parents.]

Kim speaks: Bo qualified for the GoBabyGo because …

[Video: The front of Bo’s GoBabyGo car is shown. It’s a Jeep and has his name on it. The car is green.]

[Video: Bo is seen driving his car. He is smiling and having fun. He waves to the camera.]

Kim speaks in voiceover: … he has a diagnosis of Down syndrome, which makes him have different abilities. He has low muscle tone and some developmental delays that go along with that diagnosis.

[Video: An IUPUI student puts an Army hat on Bo while he is sitting in his car. Other IUPUI students watch, and smile at Bo.]

[Video: Bo drives his GoBabyGo car. He is smiling.]

Kim speaks in voiceover: Bo’s car was adapted for him.

[Video: Kim, Brad and Bo appear on camera.]

Kim speaks: They put a step on the side so it’s easier for him to get into.

[Video: Bo opens the door to his GoBabyGo car. He smiles at his parents.]

[Video: Bo drives his GoBabyGo car. He is smiling. Later, IUPUI students are seen helping him navigate the car.]

Kim speaks in voiceover: Bo likes to open and close doors and drawers – that’s like his favorite thing to do at home – so they made sure that the door opened and closed on the side. It was easy for him to do.

[Video: Davis plays with Bo at the GoBabyGo event. They are stacking toy rings. Later, Davis gives Bo a high-five.]

Davis speaks in voiceover: Once a kid receives their GoBabyGo car, they are basically part of our family forever. So, if they need updates to their car, if they need modifications in the future, we absolutely can work with families to do that.

[Video: Brad, Bo’s dad, is holding him in his arms. Kim, Bo’s mom, shows Bo his new GoBabyGo T-shirt.]

[Video: Kim, Brad and Bo appear on camera.]

Kim speaks: It means a lot to us that Bo was able to be part of this program because you want your child to be able to enjoy the things that typical children do, so to see him get so excited, it was great.

[Video: Kim and Brad smile proudly and watch their son drive his new GoBabyGo car.]

[IU trident appears]

[Words appear: IUPUI,]


A little boy with Down syndrome looks up happily from his new toy car

As 4-year-old Camren Day zoomed around the mini-racetrack in his new motorized car, his mom, Tina Day, said she was happy to see that he wouldn’t have to sit on the sidelines anymore.

“We’re going to have a hard time getting him out of there, I think,” she joked.

Camren, who lives in Indianapolis, was born with a heart defect, which caused complications that led to him developing cerebral palsy, Tina said. He typically uses a walker or a stroller to help him get around.

But Camren has a new mode of transportation now, thanks to the work of an interdisciplinary group of IUPUI students and faculty as part of the GoBabyGo at IU program.

Support GoBabyGo at IU

The IUPUI chapter of GoBabyGo – a national program founded more than a decade ago at the University of Delaware – is a collaboration between physical therapy students in the School of Health and Human Sciences and mechanical engineering students in the School of Engineering and Technology, who work together to design and build custom motorized vehicles for local kids with physical challenges. They meet with the kids and their families to determine the youngsters’ physical needs and then custom-fit the vehicles accordingly.

This semester, GoBabyGo at IU students unveiled the program’s largest fleet of adapted vehicles to date at a unique gathering at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where 10 kids got to test-drive their new wheels for the first time. The “Play Day” was planned by IUPUI event management students and included a special “car wash” with a bubble machine, individual garage spaces for each kid, a face-painting station and, of course, a black-and-white-checkered racetrack.

Andrew Hurm, a tourism, conventions and event management student in the School of Health and Human Sciences, said it was exciting to work with such a rewarding program as part of his senior capstone class.

“I love the opportunity we get to plan such an inspirational event that will really be helping kids in our community be able to have more mobility, keep up with their peers and reach places that they wouldn’t be able to reach otherwise,” Hurm said. “This experience will definitely be something that I talk about for years to come.”

A child with physical disabilities drives his new green car at GoBabGo's Play Day event
A child is shown how to steer his adapted vehicle

Photos by Chris Meyer, Indiana University

Payton Pierce, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering, a Purdue program, was part of a team of students from the School of Engineering and Technology that took on a GoBabyGo build for 9-year-old Saleem Olayode, who has cerebral palsy.

Their build – a PowerWheels car decorated with a “4” and a Superman sticker on the hood in a nod to Saleem’s favorite superhero – was a semester-long capstone project that involved more extensive work than most GoBabyGo vehicles. The goal of the car is to help build Saleem’s core muscles, so a seat was installed that requires him to lean forward to activate the accelerator button on the steering wheel. The seat had to be centered in the vehicle, which required reworking the steering column and the car’s electrical system.

“We knew from the first day we met Saleem that this was going to be a lot more rewarding than working for a big company,” said Pierce, who is graduating in December and planning to work in the automotive industry. “We actually get to see the smile on a kid’s face, which would make anybody’s day.”

Eileen Chou, a first-year physical therapy student, said she and her fellow GoBabyGo student members agreed that the kids’ reactions were the best part of Play Day.

“We’ve been saying all of our faces hurt because we’ve been smiling so much today,” she said.

Chou, who helped build Camren’s adapted vehicle, said her team modified the mini-SUV to help Camren improve his trunk strength and posture. The vehicle is blue – Camren’s favorite color – and outfitted with more of his favorites, including Toy Story stickers, decorative lights behind the seat and a Bluetooth speaker for playing music.

“Seeing him in it and being able to control it on his own – that’s pretty awesome,” she said.

Camren’s brother, 8-year-old Owen Day, said he was happy to see Camren enjoying his new vehicle – especially because they’ll be able to drive motorized cars together now.

“I think he likes it a lot,” Owen said of Camren’s new car. “He likes to play sports and loves the action, so he’ll probably want to drive the car more than the other stuff.”

In addition to building a car for Camren, IUPUI students also added a special harness to the passenger seat of Owen’s motorized car so that Camren can ride along with his older brother.

Tina Day said participating in GoBabyGo and experiencing Play Day with her family had been better than she’d ever expected.

“Camren’s really motivated to move, and this is one thing he can do to move more,” she said. “And it makes him happy.”

IUPUI students carry a silver car into the GoBabyGo event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
IUPUI students work on a pink car

Photos by Chris Meyer, Indiana University


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Andrea Zeek

Senior Communications Consultant

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