This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

November 11, 2015

Excellent Model for Kids-Helping-Kids

Imagine an after-school project that not only teaches kids engineering, but also helps others to have greater mobility?

Born from a research project
Founded in 2006 by Dr. Cole Galloway, as part of a research project at the University of Delaware, GoBabyGo provides modified, ride-on cars to young children with disabilities enabling them to move around independently. Galloway provides instructional materials and YouTube videos to help teachers and students modify the cars, so that kids around the world may experience independent movement. And the children with disabilities love the fact that their new vehicles are not wheelchairs, but rather cool toys.

A win-win-win project, benefitting many
But for us, the best part is the engagement of sixth-graders to rewire the toy cars. By engaging the middle-schoolers to help children with disabilities, the project is clearly a win-win-win: the children learn engineering, they experience early the value of social responsibility, and the get to feel good about helping out other children. The children with disabilities benefit by having the wonderful toys that, due to modification, are now beneficial to them. And of course, the parents benefit, because their children are engaged in worthwhile after-school activities and learning to become contributing citizens.

In real life. . .
GoBabyGo teaches middle school students to attach the appropriate braces and other modifications to cars for children with spina bifida, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and even complex medical needs, like trachea tubes. While most of the cars are modified to operate with hand movements, some have also been modified for head movement.

How disabilities affect movement
The students start by figuring out how exactly how the toy car works, then discuss how to prepare it for the driver who needs it. In this way, they learn how particular disabilities affect movement and are engaged in thinking about how to best tailor the toy cars for individual children.

One of many
GoBabyGo is indeed one of many peer-to-peer programs, encouraging young people to help others. We especially like this program because it also shows young children how using STEM (Science Engineering, Technology, and Math) can make a difference in the lives of others. It is an excellent model for schools to adopt globally and has the potential for being the first of many.

Special thanks to our long-time friend and subscriber, Dr. Jefferson Stewart, for making us aware of this worthwhile project.

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