PT students on a roll with Go Baby Go event

by John Keenan, UNMC public relations | August 25, 2016

Image with caption: Santiago in his modified toy car.

Santiago in his modified toy car.

Santiago was stylin'.

The 2 ½-year-old struck the classic cruiser's pose -- one hand on the wheel, one arm resting on the door -- as he test drove his new motorized car in front of a crowd of delighted family members and students.

picture disc.
Physical therapy students gather to watch Santiago drive his new car.
On Aug. 10, Santiago was one of six children with developmental disabilities who got new, tricked out toy cars designed to safely allow them more mobility courtesy of UNMC physical therapy students and UNL and UNO engineering students.

The event was the Go Baby Go! Nebraska partnership, funded by grants the Munroe-Meyer Institute's Department of Physical Therapy received from the Munroe-Meyer Institute Guild and Olsson Associates, a local engineering firm. The national program provides modified ride-on cars for kids with developmental disabilities.

To see a photo album from the event, click here.

MMI partnered with Children's Hospital & Medical Center, the College of Allied Health Professions' Students of the University of Nebraska American Physical Therapy Association (SUN-APTA), and an engineering student group from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The result rocked. And, more importantly, rolled.

About 50 students took part, including engineering students from UNO and UNL, said Sandra Willett, interim director of physical therapy at MMI.

Haley Hansen, a third-year PT student, said her classmates were excited when they learned about the project.

"It's really fun, and we're learning a lot," she said, though she conceded it was "a lot harder to put these toy cars together in general. We've definitely had some struggles, but we're figuring it out."

Certainly the families weren't complaining.

"I love the program, and we are so excited to get to be a part of this," said Amanda Lopez, Santiago's mother. "My whole family is ecstatic and just excited to be here."

picture disc.
Madeline enjoying her car.
PT student Brittany Ridder said it was rewarding to watch children use the cars they had helped build.

"It's going to help broaden their environment and life so much. It's a really touching thing that's happening," Ridder said.

Madeline Hauschild, age 3 ½, was quick to discover that hitting the big red button of the steering wheel, specially placed there and wired by the students, would move her forward.

"She loves it, so I'm enjoying just watching her having fun," said her mom, Kelly Hauschild.

As the day wound down, Willett said she was ecstatic over the event's success.

"You can feel the joy in the room, and the students have super enthusiasm about it and are excited to be moving forward," she said.

Third-year PT student Mitchell Hagedorn agreed.

"It was extremely gratifying just to see the kids be able to be mobile by themselves, because they're not used to it at all," he said. "Mobility's important, because a lot of times that's how we learn."


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March 09, 2017 at 9:46 AM

How does someone get involved? Pt from childrens told me about this for my trach vented son.

Mary Ann Pederson
August 25, 2016 at 3:21 PM

Those kids' smiles say it all!

Laura Bilek
August 25, 2016 at 11:15 AM

What a joy to see the outcome of the physical therapy students and engineering students working together. Fabulous! Thank you for your leadership, Sandy.

sue anson
August 25, 2016 at 8:55 AM


Kelly Johnson
August 25, 2016 at 7:51 AM

What a great heart warming story! Congratulations to all involved on this project.