On Wednesday and Thursday, A-West science teacher Stephanie English’s first and fourth period classes presented modified Power Wheels cars to 12 children, aged 1-3. The kids have mobility issues and disabilities that make movement difficult, so these cars can help them to move of their own power in the house, or outside.
The class, Scientific Research and Design, a junior and senior course wherein students worked on the cars for about two weeks after being paired with a specific child, after the inner wiring was configured. The cars are modified to meet the needs of the specific child: the level of support, visual issues, and color choices.
Each car has one big button, about the size of a bagel, and pushing that makes the car go, while the steering wheel functions the same as a normal car. Some cars have pool noodles and PVC pipe to make it easier for the children to stay in, while others have foam kickboards or straps for support.
The project was funded by a mix of some donated cars and a grant that was awarded to the school by the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow program that English won. The grant is for $25,000 allotted to a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) idea that can benefit the community.
KidStreet, a daycare in Denver that meets the needs of medically fragile kids, reached out to English to see if they can make more of the specialized cars. “We’re in the works of meeting their needs too,” says English.