Today we were reminded of how a group of thoughtful people can make a big impact in the lives of others.
In this case, it was a group of middle school students from Seven Hills bringing a huge smile to two-year-old Brysen’s face as they presented a modified electronic toy Ferrari to him.
Brysen has cerebral palsy – a condition which affects body movement and muscle coordination – and because of it, cannot walk on his own or sit up, and crawling on his tummy is difficult.
With this modified toy car, Brysen will have the kind of mobility he hasn’t had thus far. The car was altered so that Brysen won’t have to use a pedal. Instead, a big button switch on the steering wheel was installed to move the car forwards and backwards as well as a bar on the top of the car for an adult to help him steer.
Having a modified toy car retrofitted for Brysen means that for the first time he will be able to participate when his two older brothers are playing with their power wheels. “There aren’t too many activities that Brysen and his older brothers can play together,” his mother, Flossie, said. “This will allow them to have that interaction they’ve been wanting.”
Occupational therapist Julie Linebach said there are other benefits, too. “When kids with cerebral palsy are able to be mobile, they make improvements in other areas. Their depth and distance perception improve, along with head control, trunk strength and muscle function. Children will also become more verbal and increase their socialization skills.” Brysen is in the preschool program at our Perlman Center, which often utilizes advanced technology to assist children in their everyday lives. This is how Brysen got connected to the Seven Hill’s Innovation Lab, which was looking for an engineering project for their students to take on.
But as the Seven Hills middle school students presented their car, it was clear to us that Brysen wasn’t the only one who gained from this experience.
Sure, the students acquired early engineering skills while modifying the car, but it seems they learned even more than that. They gave up their lunch time over several months to help someone else – a small, thoughtful act that has now made a huge impact on one child’s life.
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