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

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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.

Originally published: June 14, 2016
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