The Magic in Movement

“You could see their eyes light up…When it clicked… that interaction between the students, that’s where magic happens,” Jane Jung- Potter, program head of physical therapy in the HCPSS Department of Special Education, told the Howard County Times.

Jung-Potter was referring to what happened when some disabled students tried out customized, adapted ride-on cars designed by their non-disabled Howard County high school student peers last year. Cedar Lane School (CLS) students will use the cars this school year during group sessions, such as recess and adapted P.E. class. HCPSS Physical Therapy also hopes to distribute the cars to other regional early childhood centers to support development of language, social, fine motor, gross motor, communication and cognition skills, and more.

Students studying in-demand career fields through the Allied Health and Engineering academies at the Applications and Research Laboratory designed, customized and adapted the cars based on CLS students’ accessibility challenges. The cars come with accommodations, such as various switch activation sites for hand, head and foot accessibility; sensors to avoid obstacles; remote control options; and seating for optimal positioning.

Then Long Reach High School senior Neitik Patel described to the Howard County Times that “he has gained a new perspective on children with disabilities. Every child is different,” adding he hopes to continue retrofitting cars for children with special needs going forward. He continued, “To make opportunities available, we absolutely have to think outside of the box.”

The adapted car initiative is a collaborative effort through HCPSS’ Physical Therapy and Adapted Physical Education departments, stemming from a professional learning session with Dr. James C. “Cole” Galloway, founder of Go Baby Go!

To see the adapted cars in action, view