Merging creativity and innovation to build a meaningful future in physical and occupational therapy

CHP Web Team
January 25, 2024
students build adaptive car for children
Students work together to build an adaptive vehicle. 

Go Baby Go is a powered mobility program that allows infants, toddlers, and young children with mobility impairments to explore and interact with their environment independently using adaptive equipment. The college began working with Go Baby Go in 2012 to provide these adaptive vehicles. Go Baby Go power mobility vehicles help children build self-confidence, move through spaces independently, learn motor development, and provides them an opportunity for play or social interactions with family and friends. 

selection of adaptive vehicle builds 

A fleet of adaptive cars in process fill the CHP Atrium.

A couple of the participating students share their experience.

"I volunteered to participate in the Go Baby Go build so I could learn how to build a car from start to finish for a child in need. My group made an adaptive car for a four-year-old with right-sided hemiparesis, which is partial weakness on one side of the body. We started the build by removing the foot pedal from the bottom of the car and installing a front button so the child can use their hand to accelerate by pushing it down. Next, we fitted him to the chair and placed his front button on his right side to promote using his weaker side for reaching. His family was eager and excited to come and see him move around on his own!

The children we were building the mobility vehicles for actually came to test out the cars and were able to take them home. It was incredible to see that firsthand. The experience was even more rewarding than I expected! And I’m not the only one that felt that way. My OTD classmate, Beth Chard said, “I cannot wait for the next Go Baby Go build! It was really hands-on and allowed me to use my creative side to modify a typical ride-on car into an awesome assistive device. The most rewarding part was definitely seeing the child we fit the car for, zoom around with a smile on their face!”

student group with adaptive car build 
Beth Chard (far left) and classmates pose with their adaptive car.

Participating in activities like this enhances my preparation as a future Occupational Therapist because it promotes creativity and innovation - which is what OT is all about! We support using the patients’ meaningful activities to guide our treatment sessions. I plan to pursue pediatric occupational therapy once I graduate from MUSC. Hopefully, I will have the opportunity to create a Go Baby Go build site where I can build other adaptive equipment for my future kiddos!" - Alexis M. Brown, OTS, OTD Class of 2025

"I choose to volunteer for Go Baby Go after watching a video in class with Dr. Dodds. The video introduced Cole Galloway, founder of Go Baby Go, and showed children with disabilities benefitting. I immediately connected with the Go Baby Go mission to provide mobility to children with disabilities, so they have opportunity to explore their environments. For years, I have been passionate about adaptive sports and the inclusivity of people with disabilities, so after seeing this video I realized I had to participate.


students pose with a child in an adaptive vehicle 
Alexis Brown (far left) with OTD classmates and a recipient in one of their adaptive vehicles.


As a future physical therapist, I have learned that mobility was very important, but Go Baby Go showed me just how important it is for children too. Creating adaptive ride on cars that children can activate to navigate in their environments allows them to keep up with friends and family. Go Baby Go car experiences also support cognitive and motor development. It was inspiring to see how innovative the therapists were in finding ways to engage the children’s vision, strength, and range of motion to mention a few. Most of the children we worked with had an adaptive switch placed on the steering wheel so that they could use their arms to make the cars go. We built the seat in each car to fit each specific body and needs. It was powerful to see the smiles on the children and caregivers’ faces. One mom commented how excited she was to have a new way for her son to play with her and his siblings!

This experience further confirmed my goal to become a pediatric physical therapist. I loved the creativity and fun that Go Baby Go incorporated in the rehab process, and I hope to incorporate Go Baby Go into future mission trips, clinicals, and with patients." - Chloe Boroff, PTS, Class of 2026

students pose with adaptive car and child 
Students pose with a child after a successful test drive.


Leading faculty member for the program, Cindy Dodds PT, Ph.D., PCS, says "Go Baby Go offers just a creative and fun way to foster development in children with disabilities and support the inclusion of children with disabilities and their families! Our Go Baby Go builds here in Charleston are a collaborative effort. Mel Goodwin and students from Laing Middle School provide the cars and engineering expertise to properly adapt the cars. Students and faculty from the College of Health Professions, Occupation and Physical Therapy programs provide positioning equipment and expertise to optimize each child’s safety and ability to drive the car. MUSC Children’s Therapy Center provides a location to host the Go Baby Go build and many of their pediatric therapists volunteer to serve children with disabilities as well as teach occupation and physical therapy students. Go Baby Go is just a Win Win as it supports the development of children with disabilities, offers families an inclusive play opportunity for the children, provides middle school and graduate students with a hands-on experiential learning opportunity, complements the work of therapists, and generates happiness in all."

You can find more information about Go Baby Go on their website. For information on how to participate with MUSC, contact Cindy Dodds PT, Ph.D., PCS.