We continue to welcome submissions for the CSD Blog. We have so many cool and interesting things, people, and experiences to showcase, nothing is necessarily too big or too small! Here is the submission process:
Type your story or experience in a Word document.
Title your Word document “LastName_FirstInitial_CSDBlog_Date”.
Keep it roughly between 500-1000 words.
You can email a submission to SLockenvitz@MissouriState.edu as an attachment.
The following is the described experience of SLP graduate students Jennie Badovinac and Lindsey Lower with the Go Baby Go program. Thanks Jennie and Lindsey!
The Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) and Occupational Therapy (OT) graduate students had a unique opportunity to present 10 children with limited mobility an opportunity to independently take control of their mobility with adapted toy cars through Go Baby Go. Go Baby Go is a national grassroots program that provides modified, ride-on cars to children who have limited mobility. The following is a rendition of the experience from SLP graduate students Lindsey Lower and Jennie Badovinac.
Go Baby Go was an incredibly exciting opportunity the SLP students, as it allowed us to build and grow our skills in adaptive technology, interacting with families, working collaboratively with an interprofessional team, and seeing the impact that mobility can have on communication and vise versa.
We started out by learning to rewire the full-size toy cars to allow the kids to have a different, more accessible way to drive their cars. As SLPs, we obviously don’t get formal training in mechanics, so thankfully we had the help of an electrical engineer and two wonderful OT professors with experience in building switch adapted toys. Along with the OT students, we rewired the cars to include a switch on the steering wheel that served to accelerate the car, and a kill switch on the back to keep them from spiraling out of control (they are new drivers, after all. We’ve all been there). For many of the kids, acceleration was not accessible through the use of a foot pedal, therefore, they needed the steering wheel switch so that they could activate the car with their hand, arm, or just the weight of their body by leaning forward.
After we had finished building and rewiring the cars, it was time to meet the kids! As the families began to arrive, the SLP and OT students made any final adjustments necessary to ensure that the car was a comfortable fit for the child. This included building postural supports (back support, arm rests, harnesses, etc), and making sure that the child had easy access to the switch on the steering wheel. Building these postural supports was more within the OT students’ scope, so the SLP students had a unique opportunity to interact with the children and families during this time, as well as provide communication opportunities to the children as they began to explore their new, independent mobility. While providing mobility was the primary goal of Go Baby Go, there was a secondary outcome of an abundance of new communication opportunities. Something we saw quite a bit of was the chance for these children to finally be able to “keep up” with their peers and siblings during play, creating plenty of new social, and therefore communication, opportunities.
From our experiences, the kids were ecstatic once they began to independently explore the room in their brand new hotrods. The families expressed great excitement and appreciation toward the CSD and OT departments for providing their children with not only a fun new toy, but a way to get around and participate in play in ways they may not have been able to in the past. We were incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to participate in Go Baby Go to further our education in such a fun way and be able to provide the children and families with this gift.