Delaware Elementary receives three adaptive ride-on toys for students with physical disabilities
Nov. 14, 2023
Gage Wingo had one direction: there and fast. He couldn’t stop smiling as he drove a bright red Jeep.
“So much in Gage’s life is out of his control,” said Hannah Wingo, Gage’s mom. “These cars, adapted for his abilities, give him that sense of control and help him engage with the world around him. He’s having so much fun.”
Gage Wingo, a third grader at Delaware Elementary School, was the inaugural rider of a special red Jeep ride-on toy donated by Missouri State University’s Occupational Therapy department as part of its Go Baby Go program. MSU OT students adapted three ride-on cars to offer a hands-only acceleration switch, a remote, a kill switch for safety, and additional back and lateral supports for postural control and stability.
“The adapted Jeeps allow children to experience mobility through play when they otherwise would not be able to," said Dr. Jennifer Yates, an occupational therapy faculty member at MSU.
“Research shows that when children feel more empowered with their own mobility, they engage more in the world around them,” said Dr. Yates. “Many children also experience improvements in various other domains such as cognitive abilities, communication skills and social participation. For many, they experience a sense of joy they may have not experienced before with this intrinsically motivating activity. These ride-on toys can be powerful tools to accelerate their skills.”
Three adaptive cars were donated and presented by MSU OT students on Nov. 8. The toys will be utilized across the district, but many Delaware students with different physical abilities will be able to benefit from the innovative student engagement tool.
Gary Koeppe, an occupational therapist at Delaware, can’t wait to start utilizing the ride-on toy in his work with Delaware students.
“All students who are engaged in their learning achieve more and do more,” said Koeppe. “For Gage and other students in need of accommodations, these ride-on toys can be the key to discovering and engaging with their school community and learning in a new way. We’re excited to see where these ride-on Jeeps take them.”