For the first month and a half after receiving a modified toy car designed for children with disabilities, the kids and their families seemed motivated to use driving as a means of exploration and socialization.
But in the month and a half after that, most kids’ driving time fell off to almost nothing.
Dr. Sam Logan, from Oregon State University College of Public Health and Human Sciences, conducts research using the cars in his lab, said families who use the “Go Baby Go” ride-on cars require more robust support to push past barriers and keep using the cars over time. Otherwise, instead of helping young children with mobility issues explore their world, the cars end up forgotten in a closet.
OSU is one of several Go Baby Go chapters around the country working with children ages 3 and younger who experience limited mobility. OSU students take the off-the-shelf cars that kids can ride in and modify them with large easy-to-press activation buttons and PVC pipe frames to keep children sitting safely upright inside the car.
In previous studies, researchers made frequent home visits and were able to troubleshoot any problems families faced in using the cars. Dr. Logan says their aim has always been to be as inclusive as possible, so that even children with complex medical needs are able to drive.
“The reason behind this study was to figure out what happens when families get cars and they’re not part of a research study and they’re not getting systematic support,” Dr. Logan says. “Turns out, when we gave the cars out for three months and tracked their use, the average was about seven days out of 90 that they were used.”Friday Letter Submission, Publish on January 24