New program gives children with mobility issues more independence

Published: Oct. 6, 2022 at 11:03 AM CDT
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ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Cerebral palsy, down syndrome, or certain birth defects ... These are just some of the conditions that may cause limited mobility for kids. They can also create barriers like isolating kids from some activities other kids their age take part in. Now a nationwide program is getting these kids moving and steering a path for their success.

Two-year-old Theodore Sherrill is all about playtime.

Theodore’s mother Suzanne Sherrill says, “He loves to play. He loves to do just what everybody else his age loves to do.”

Which is not always easy since Theodore has down syndrome.

Amber Yampolsky, Physical Therapist at Nemours Children’s Hospital says, “The kids with special needs are usually delayed in how they can move. We want to try to give them the ability to move either on time or at least earlier than they would if we kind of waited for their development to progress.”

And that is the mission of go baby go, a program designed to build adaptive toy cars to get kids with mobility impairments moving.

“We believe that mobility is a human right.” Explains Jennifer Tucker, PT, DPT, PCS, Clinical Associate Professor at University of Central Florida

Yampolsky says, “A lot of kids with special needs don’t have the ability to do the foot pedals or to do the steering, so we’re able to adapt the cars so that they just have a button on them. And the kids, even with a very limited amount of mobility, are able to push that button and make the car go.”

This is the first time three-year-old Haddie Ortiz, who has mild cerebral palsy, gets to ride in her car.

“She’s excited. I think it’s one of those things she is going to have control over something that is usually hard for her.” Rachel Ortiz, Haddie’s Mom says.

The same is true for Theodore, who is not letting anything put the brakes on his fun.

Sherrill says, “He doesn’t want to be left out just because he is rocking an extra chromosome.”

“That day isn’t about anything that their child cannot do, it’s about everything their child can do.” Tucker, PT, DPT, PCS explains.

Making sure every kid gets a pass to the fast lane.

Go Baby Go was founded at the university of Delaware, but there are several chapters around the country. The chapter at the University of Central Florida has been around since 2015 and has given more than 160 cars to kids. Typically, when a child outgrows their car, they can bring it back, and the car gets a tune-up before being given to another kid.

The closest provider in our area is Mallory Eggert, DPT Student in St. Louis. You can reach her at

Contributors to this news report include: Milvionne Chery, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.


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