Empowering Children with Mobility Disabilities Through Robotics
A robotics team from Palos Verdes Peninsula High School is using their exceptional skills not only to win awards but also to make a difference in the lives of children with mobility disabilities. In collaboration with the national foundation Go Baby Go, the team known as Phantom Catz has been modifying ride-on toy cars for children with cerebral palsy and other mobility issues. The goal is to enhance the children’s independence and improve their quality of life.
The Phantom Catz robotics team, which has over a decade of experience, joined forces with Go Baby Go last year. With the guidance of adult technical mentors from the engineering industry, the team purchases toy cars and modifies them to suit the specific needs of each child. One significant modification is replacing the gas pedal with a button on the front of the vehicle, making it easier for the kids to accelerate. However, the adults or parents retain control over the car’s movement through a remote control.
Jeannie Hahn, an outreach mentor with the robotics team, highlighted the importance of these modified cars for families who may not have access to wheelchairs suitable for young children. The cars provide an opportunity for the children to freely move around and interact with their peers.
Physical therapist Stephanie Yu, a volunteer with Go Baby Go, plays a crucial role in recruiting children for the program. She reaches out to various pediatric therapy clinics and programs in the community to identify potential participants.
Delivery day is a special occasion where the children come in to receive their custom-modified cars. The team ensures the cars are properly fitted for each child’s safety, and they provide guidance to the families on how to use the cars effectively.
Through their collaboration with Go Baby Go, the Phantom Catz robotics team is making a significant impact on the lives of children with mobility disabilities. By combining their engineering skills with empathy and compassion, these high schoolers are empowering children to move about their world with confidence and achieve developmental milestones.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: How does the Phantom Catz robotics team modify the toy cars?
A: The team replaces the gas pedal with a button on the front of the vehicle, making it easier for children with mobility disabilities to accelerate.
Q: Who controls the movement of the modified cars?
A: While the children can operate the cars using the modified controls, the adults or parents retain overall control through a remote control device.
Q: How are children selected to receive the modified cars?
A: Physical therapist Stephanie Yu, a volunteer with Go Baby Go, reaches out to pediatric therapy clinics and programs in the community to identify children who can benefit from the program.
Q: What happens on the delivery day?
A: On delivery day, the children come in to receive their modified cars. The team ensures that the cars are properly fitted for safety, and they provide guidance to the families on how to utilize the cars effectively.