A Maryland Teacher Had Toy Cars Repurposed as Mobility Devices for Her Students With Disabilities

A Maryland teacher is giving her students a mobility device they will never forget – a car.

B.A. List is a teacher at Rock Creek School in Frederick, MD, which serves local students with severe disabilities. Her students, ages 3 and 4, are nonverbal and have an array of physical and cognitive disabilities.

List and her colleagues constantly adapt toys, instructional materials and communication devices for students. Then they heard about a University of Delaware-sponsored initiative called GoBabyGo!, which modifies battery-operated toy cars for kids with disabilities, and jumped at the chance to participate.

Student in yellow car
With the help of high school students at Frederick County Public Schools’ Career and Technology Center (CTC), the Mobility Project was born. The high school students rigged the toy cars to be operated using a switch instead of the gas pedal or, in some cases, a simple tilt of the head. Other students at the CTC equipped the cars with safety features – such as seat belts and padding – as well as personalized decals for each student.

Each student who receives a car is allowed to keep their car, with the caveat that it be returned to the school once they outgrow it.

Young girl in pink toy car

List said that the high schoolers benefitted just as much as the younger students.

“The high school kids who worked on the cars get to have a chance to interact with students with disabilities,” List said. “They learn that they are just kids and there is nothing to be afraid of!”

Young boy in white toy bus

And for many of List’s students, being able to move around independently was a first.

“It allows them to connect with typical peers socially and … to just be like all the other kids,” List told The Mighty.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Disability

pope francis with girl with down syndrome

Pope Francis Says Perfect Body 'Obsession' Leads to Discrimination of Disabled People

On Sunday, in a mass dedicated to disabled people and their caregivers, Pope Francis said society’s “obsession” with perfect bodies has led to the shunning and hiding away of people with disabilities, according to The Associated Press. “It is thought that sick or disabled persons cannot be happy, since they cannot live the lifestyle held [...]
family traveling on a hike

A Cross-Country Vacation With Our Son With Complex Disabilities

At home, we’re used to it. We grow blind to the house full of equipment that makes daily life possible. We settle in to the well-oiled routine that makes things, if not easy, well, manageable. On vacation, all that is stripped away, and we come back down to earth with a bump. It’s the simple things that [...]
Donald Trump is pictured next to an image of Chris Glaros, who appears in an anti-Trump ad.

New TV Ad Targets Trump's Treatment of Disability

A new political ad airing on TV in battleground states is taking aim at presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s treatment of people with disabilities. The 60-second spot is being aired by Priorities USA Action, a political action committee that endorses Trump’s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, and features Chris and Lauren Glaros, a couple whose daughter [...]
Audience sitting in multiplex movie theater, watching movie.

How We Can Truly Fight Disability Bias in Entertainment

Editor’s note: On June 7, 2016, Gary Owen agreed to remove the segment in his Showtime special in which he depicts people with intellectual disabilities. Effective immediately, the special will still be available On Demand but will not include this portion. More details here. During the summer of 2006, Oakland, California was plagued by a [...]