March 10, 2022
Go Baby Go is a national program that promotes improved mobility and socialization for children with disabilities. Specifically, powered ride-on cars are custom modified to support the physical and cognitive needs of a child. Some of these children are unable to move on their own and are fully dependent on others to push or carry them.
In 2015, at the urging of students that had returned from a physical therapy conference, GCC Associate Professor and physical therapist, Dr. Christopher Caputi, founded the first Go Baby Go Program housed in a community college. Since this time, Dr. Caputi and GCC Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) students have had the honor of modifying many vehicles for members of our surrounding community.
For $300- $400, these vehicles provide a means of mobility and inclusive play, where a powered wheelchair may cost many thousands of dollars and are usually not financially feasible. All of this work, including the vehicle, parts, and labor are provided at no cost to the recipient. This program allows future Physical Therapist Assistants to not only gain hands-on experience with patients, but also offers an opportunity to improve and impact a young child’s life.
To make this happen, area therapists often collaborate with GCC faculty and students to assess the child’s needs. Next, physical measurements of each child are taken to ensure they are properly situated in the car, along with any medical equipment that they may need to bring along for the ride. The modifications of these cars can include changing the gas pedal to a hand powered button, PVC and foam pads to position the child upright, head support, steering wheel changes, seating modifications, safety shut-off switch, remote controls, and adaptations to promote muscle use during play. Most vehicles are also decorated with the child’s favorite character or movie theme.
Once all modifications are complete, the child is brought back to campus for the big reveal. With family watching and the full Go Baby Go team assembled in the gym, the “roar” of the engine signals the start of a new chapter. With a little training and encouragement, it’s another success and the project is complete. Smiles and cheering included!
More information is available at the Go Baby Go program page under the GCC Foundation. https://gccfoundationinc.org/gobabygo/ This page also allows for donations that can be specifically designated to the Go Baby Go program. If you have any interest in the program, please contact us to obtain more information on helping a worthy and playful cause.
Christopher Caputi PT, DPT, Cert. MDT
Physical Therapist Assistant Program
Genesee Community College
(585) 343-0055 Ext. 6408