Educational building toy Click-A-Brick is delighted to see the true spirit of Christmas on display with the Adaptive Toy Project modifying toys so children with special mobility needs can play with them.
The Adaptive Toy Project is the brainchild of University of Northern Florida physical therapy professor Mary Lundy and an engineering colleague. It is now in its third year and has recently received a five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health.
The project brings together physical therapy and engineering students at the university to figure out the best way to adapt for children with severe mobility issues, such as cerebral palsy. The toys are generally large toy cars that children can ride in, such as Fisher-Price Power Wheels. Students examine how best to adapt the vehicles to the special needs of the children who will receive them and then they modify the toys and give them to the children for free.
Part of the larger Go Baby Go network that modifies riding toys for special needs children, the Adaptive Toy Project is the only one that employs university students to modify the toys for free.
“Engineering students teach the physical therapy students how to modify basic electronics … and in the process engineers learn how to do people-centered designs, and how to look at their clients differently,” Lundy told USA Today in a recent article about the initiative.
Co-Founders of educational building toy brand Click-A-Brick, Jason Smith and Georg de Gorostiza say although the Adaptive Toy Project isn’t limited to just Christmas, it embodies the spirit of the holiday and is heartwarming to see, particularly at this time of year.
“We just love everything about the Adaptive Toy Project and reading about it at this time of year gives it that extra special bit of warmth because of the holiday season,” Smith said. “Children with extremely special needs like ones living with cerebral palsy don’t have a lot of toys custom made for them, so it’s amazing to see projects like this giving these kids a chance to play just the same as kids who don’t have these special needs. We’ve seen in recent years where companies are coming out with toys that represent children in wheelchairs and with different levels of mobility, but those kids still might not be able to play with those toys. So, giving them toys they can actually interact with is like the next step and we’re thrilled to see it happening.”