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West High School Engineering Students Modify Ride-On Cars for Children with Disabilities

A smile stretches across four-year-old Abel Salazar’s face as he learns to maneuver his new red jeep down the hallway at Victoria West High School. His dad was by his side just in case he needed a little help steering.

Cheryl Clark’s Engineering Math students at West High School designed the adaptations to the battery-powered car Abel’s specific needs. It’s part of a nation-wide program called Go Baby Go, that helps young children with disabilities move about their environment and develop motor skills. Engineering Math is one of the many Career and Technology (CTE) courses offered at VISD.

It took a team of experts within Victoria ISD to create the right adaptations for Abel. Engineering students consulted with district physical therapists and occupational therapists, special services staff, lead electrician, and others to come up with the perfect configuration and put it into action.

Because Abel is not able to propel the car with his feet, the engineering students re-wired the car to have the controls on the steering wheel. So Abel can reach the steering wheel and all of the controls, the seat was repositioned. There is also a separate remote control that will override the in-car controls, which can be used by the therapist for safety.

For their mid-term grade, the students were required to provide a presentation of their newly configured vehicle to the national Go Baby Go program so others can have the opportunity to replicate it.

Abel is the first VISD student to receive one of these adapted ride-on vehicles. It will be used during his therapy sessions at Dudley Elementary School. There are three more vehicles in the process of being adapted for use by other young students with disabilities in VISD.

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