Feeling the Freedom of the Road (even if it's a driveway)

Feeling the Freedom of the Road (even if it’s a driveway)

Sage Meier, 22 months old, is getting strapped into her bright yellow, modified Fisher-Price car when she flashes a slight frown of apprehension.

There are a few extra people in her driveway to watch her tool around in the car, which has been modified to strengthen her right hand and arm.

But when Sage’s father, Tate, flips the car’s battery switch, the grimace is gone. Her hand shoots out and punches the throttle — on the car’s steering wheel — and there’s no stopping her now as she coasts down the driveway, through the yard, out to the sidewalk.

“That smile says it all,” says Sage’s mother, Erin. “Anyone who has a child with a disability knows that they miss out on a lot of things. This car has let her ride outside with all the other kids, chase her siblings around, be part of the neighborhood activity.”

Sage is one of five Creighton Pediatric Therapy Clinic patients par­tici­pating in a 12-week study testing the effects of newfound mobility in children with medical conditions limiting them in this area. Students from Creighton’s occupational therapy and physical therapy departments modified the miniature, battery-driven cars to meet the specific mobility needs of each child.

The study was devised by Stacy Wong, BS’07, DPT’10, an instructor in the Department of Physical Therapy, and Marisa Sevick, OTD, an instructor in the Department of Occupational Therapy, and funded by a 2017 Dr. George F. Haddix President’s Faculty Research Fund award.

And if Sage’s experience is any indication, the future holds that more cars will roll off the Creighton assembly line in the future.

“She just goes, goes, goes,” Erin Meier says.