Department of Physical Therapy Provides Modified Toy Cars and Mobility to Special Needs Children

Marymount University’s Department of Physical Therapy launched its Go Baby Go! Garage on Saturday, Sept. 17, an event that drew more than 200 people to the school’s Fairfax Drive facility and provided 12 special needs children with modified toy cars that will make them more mobile.

It’s all part of a program, Go Baby Go!, that began in 2006 when a University of Delaware professor modified an off-the-shelf, battery-operated toy car so a child with mobility issues could use it to get around.

Dr. Skye Donovan, chair of MU’s Department of Physical Therapy, said the event, held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., was to let the public know that there is now a fully functioning chapter of Go Baby Go! that can donate cars to families that need them in the Metro D.C. Area. She said it also raised $13,000 for the cause. Amy O’Malley, a pediatrics physical therapist with Good Beginnings, co-chaired the event with Donovan.

“The turnout was a very unexpected but pleasant surprise,” Donovan said. “We sent 12 families home with cars that the kids were all independently driving.”

Those attending had plenty to do. In addition to building multiple Go Baby Go! cars, the day also included sessions with policy-makers invited to learn about the issues, a kids zone with child care and activities, therapy dogs from Caring Angels, a parent networking session and a forum for parents to discuss equipment-related issues.

Dr. Cole Galloway, Founder of Go Baby Go!, was on hand and spoke to the group.

“He was just fantastic,” Donovan said. “We had a lot of people going up and asking him questions. His presence also showed that Marymount is really invested in this.”

Other speakers included Virginia State Senator Barbara Favola and Brenda Wilks, assistant superintendent of Arlington County Public Schools.

Marymount’s doctor of physical therapy students have been building the cars since 2014 for patients in Northern Virginia and also in Costa Rica. Three children who had previously received cars were on hand to demonstrate how they worked.

In addition to Marymount, sponsors included Good Beginnings, Best Buddies, Caring Angels, Trader Joe’s, Harris Teeter, Cheesetique, Civitan International, Centreville Moose Lodge, Powerhouse Gaming, Children’s Speech and Language, Sidwell Summer, Infinite Technologies, Dominion Engineering, Rotary Club and Orthotic Solutions.

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Photo captions
Photo 1
Five-year-old McKenna Card enjoys the Go Baby Go! car she received from Marymount University’s Department of Physical Therapy last year. She’s shown with Yuval Friedman of Good Beginnings.

Photo 2
More than 200 people showed up at Marymount University’s Fairfax Drive facility to learn about Go Baby Go! and to modify toy cars for 12 special needs children so they can be more mobile.

Photo 3
A happy recipient of a car is shown with the team who helped build it for him.

Photo 4
Marymount University Department of Physical Therapy student Angela Satava and Parker Friedli from Gunston Middle School’s science club work on a car.

Photo 5
Physical therapist and Marymount alumnus Jimmy McKay interviews Dr. Skye Donovan about the day’s events.