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.
|Physical therapy students gather to watch Santiago drive his new car.|
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."
|Madeline enjoying her car.|
"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."
How does someone get involved? Pt from childrens told me about this for my trach vented son.
Those kids' smiles say it all!
What a joy to see the outcome of the physical therapy students and engineering students working together. Fabulous! Thank you for your leadership, Sandy.
What a great heart warming story! Congratulations to all involved on this project.