Much has happened over the past year.
Last December, I announced, that I was going to start a mobility ministry to provide kids with disabilities ride on toys, so they would get to experience independent mobility. Since then, a lot has happened.
In January and February, I became an “official” not-for-profit and figured out how to make a web page. The UTD EPICS program took me on as a several semester project to help me make a user friendly motor controller that could be used on many ride on cars. I also was blessed to deliver my first booster scooter to a sweetie at Our Children’s House.
In March and April, I hired a sweet tutor at UTD to teach me how to program on Arduino. I learned more about wiring , amps, watts, relays, and fuses than I care to admit! And I continued to build both booster scooters and battery powered ride on cars with various homemade switches.
In May and June I started giving out more complicated ride on cars, which were driven with joysticks, as well as more booster scooters. By the end of June, programming was complete for an analog joystick, as well as speed controller, and I was soon trialing the cars with several kids.
Since July, it has been somewhat of a whirlwind! Overall, I have given out 25 vehicles, thru manual booster scooters, to simple switch vehicles, to more complicated vehicles with alternative controls. I have been blessed to meet some amazing families and have learned so much in the process:
· When motivated, a child will activate a switch in any way possible- from their hands, to their heads, and even their bellies
· Under 12 months is not too early to use a joystick, and use it well
· Sometimes low tech is better than high tech- so many kids shocked their parents by being able to propel booster scooters
· Most 12 volt ride on cars will not fit thru a standard household door and are best used outside
· Toddler bike carriers and swing seats make great supportive seating in a ride on car
As the year comes to a close, I am excited about the chance to continue to learn, and further meet amazing kids that would like to move independently. I will be looking for people to continue to partner with me: from financial support; to building cars; to referring sweet kiddos. If you would like to help, please let me know!