High school students help modify toy car for 4-year-old with cerebral palsy


ELK GROVE (CNN NEWSOURCE) – Four-year-old Julien Ferraro has cerebral palsy, which makes it hard for him to play like all the other kids.

Thanks to a group of California high school students, he’s got plenty of playtimes to look forward to.

The gift of mobility has never looked or felt so good.

When Julien sits behind the wheel of this modified black Jeep his adventures are limitless.

“Now, as you can see, he can go to the park, we can play and he can be wild and he can do it himself. So, that’s HUGE,” Jencie Ferraro, Julien’s mom, said. 

Another huge change, his ability to interact with other kids, he no longer has to be carried around or pushed in a wheelchair.

“So now, he’s going to be able to get down into that playground area and actually play with his friends,” Ferraro said. 

And that group of friends now includes the robotics team at Pleasant Grove High School, which outfitted the Jeep with an updated seat and a joystick that allows him to control the car like it’s a video game.

“It went really fast originally, so we had to find a way to slow it down, the speed of the car,” Lana Wong, on the robotics team, said. “We’ve added a potentiometer that would make the speed adjustable.”

Research shows cognitive, social and developmental benefits with independent mobility.

“I was like almost in tears,” Wong said. “We were able to explore what we could do to help someone in the community.”

Young students giving back with a game-changer just in time for Christmas making a child’s world a lot bigger and brighter.

“I think he’s thrilled, I can see him smiling right now. Look at him,” Ferraro said. 

The high school robotics team partnered with ‘Go Baby Go,’ part of the Cerebral Palsy Foundation, to make the modifications for the Julien’s new ride.

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