There’s nothing like receiving new toys for the holidays. And in the case of one 2-year-old boy from Manheim, he received much more than a toy at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.
“The first thing we did with the car is we added a kill switch in the back so the parents can turn it on and off,” said Patrick Hansell.
Hansell is one several students from Cedar Crest High School modifying toy cars.
“Our main goal is just to make the car easier to use,” one student said.
The cars, while bought off store shelves, are anything but ordinary.
Two-year-old Miles Bischoff is one of the first recipients of a brand new toy car. It’s part of a new program at Penn State Health called Go Baby Go.
“We adapt just off the shelf cars so that kiddos can, without the ability to move their feet and use their legs, they are able to power the car with a push button and kind of explore their environment a little bit,” said pediatric physical therapist Taylor Clark.
Clark says for kids like Miles, who has Spina Bifida, interacting with others can be difficult.
“Kids that are typically developing, the way that they learn is by exploring their environment, crawling on the floor, rolling around on the floor,” Clark said. “They start walking. A lot of the kiddos we see in the clinic aren’t able to meet those milestones and are a little bit delayed.”
“Starting in the new year he’s going to have seven therapies a week, to help him move around and play with toys and interact with us and friends,” said Miles’ mom, Kait Bischoff.
For Miles’ mom and dad, the bright red car will let Miles be more independent.
“Just knowing that he can affect the world and go to things. He doesn’t have to ask us to reach for toys or anything he wants. He can kind of cruise up to it,” said Miles’ dad, Jared Bischoff.
With the help of physical therapists, it was mostly the work of Cedar Crest students who modified the car.
“They did all of the wiring themselves,” Clark said. “They kind of read the directions and work through the process. They’re all interested in kind of science and health science, kind of things for school.”
“It’s a little bit of a challenge, but it’s also a learning experience,” Hansell said.
Kait Bischoff says it’s more than just a toy. It’s a tool.
“It’s such an amazing thing that they do for families like ours and these kids because they don’t make stuff like this in stores,” said Kait Bischoff.
The Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation plans to expand the Go Baby Go initiative to all Penn State campuses in early 2019.
If you would like to donate to the program you can visit Penn State Health’s website, select “A specific area” then “Orthopedics and Rehabilitation”, then enter “GoBabyGo” in the comments section.