ETSU helps kids rev up for Halloween as the holiday draws near. ETSU’s College of Public Health hosted an event to both assist and excite children with mobility needs on Oct. 27.
Students from ETSU’s College of Public Health and Department of Physical Therapy and Milligan College’s engineering and occupational therapy programs set up a tiny town in the Eastman/Valleybrook Center for Children to drive tailor-made “cars” in order to “Drive and Treat” their way to a more immersive Halloween experience. This event was part of the nationwide AdaptoPlay program with this event termed GoBabyGo Appalachia.
Sydney Burchell, a Public Health student from ETSU’s College of Public Health, explained how the “Drive and Treat” event was designed to help kids with disabilities.
“The GoBabyGo program is for kids with mobility issues,” Burchell said. “Some of these kids have never been able to walk on their own, so this essentially gives them a chance to see the world on their own…and a sense of being able to provide for themselves.”
Left and right kids were zooming through the town, checking out places like the fire station, the florist, and even a car wash, grabbing goody bags and experiencing self-empowerment through motion.
“The cars are a form of therapy for these kids,” Burchell said. “It’s fun for them and it’s helping them move.”
Elizabeth Campbell, a senior at ETSU majoring in Public Health with a concentration in Healthcare Administration, was participating in the event by greeting kids and handing out treats.
“We’ve got eight kids lined up,” Campbell said. “They’ve all got different needs…Each cart is different. One of the carts has the gas on the steering wheel, one has a joystick, one has two different levers like a lawnmower, and one of them even has the gas on the headrest.”
The GoBabyGo Appalachia group is a nonprofit organization with the mission of developing innovative methods to help get children moving and more specifically, “exploring their world through independent mobility.”
If you are interested in getting involved with the group for other events, or if you have a child that might benefit from an event like this, contact GoBabyGo Appalachia via their website www.adaptoplay.org or by phone at (423) 930-8114.