Joel’s favorite thing at therapy lately is cruising the halls on Mater. May We Help, a fantastic local volunteer organization (their tag line is “Engineering Inabilities into Capabilities”…amazing!), collaborated with Perlman therapists to retrofit a standard Power Wheels car with a large button switch, battery interrupter, wheelchair seat, handle, etc. [Lightning McQueen is also just in; Joel hasn’t had a chance to take him for a spin yet!]
The result is pure joy for Joel and his buddies. Perhaps your first reaction is “how cute”, but it is so very much more than just amplified adorableness. This is Joel’s first experience with being truly in control of his mobility with some real speed. He’s in the process of figuring out how to control wheels on standers and chairs and has since really taken off with his army crawling, but the car is much faster! It is the ultimate cause and effect vehicle. His OT lets him “crash” and is teaching him to anticipate distance/stopping. It is a very exciting visual scavenger hunt for him, and he adores driving by doors and windows and exploring other rooms. Watching his face light up the first time he tried out Mater was priceless. He stunned me with how quickly he understood just what to do!
He’s also saying “Ma!” and taking some nice steps in a walker. He’s made of awesome.
I think the power resides in us, Joel’s family and every single person he touches, to make this world a place where it’s okay to be different, use a wheelchair/walker/other equipment, have an extra chromosome (Happy World Down Syndrome Day, Extraordinary Friends!), use a communication device, speak ASL, and everything else under the sun. The surface isn’t very deep, and sometimes Legos at our house use wheelchairs too:
As always, we are grateful for the gift of Joel (and big brother Luke), and the phenomenal people he has brought into our lives. One of my favorite writer/bloggers, Amy Julia Becker, talks about her daughter breaking her heart wide open. I like it.