Week 1 – Senior Research Project (Introduction)

Aanand M -

Hello everyone and thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog! My name is Aanand, and my senior research project will examine the effect of adapted ride-on cars in improving independent mastery motivation and socio-emotional development in children with Down syndrome. 

My journey with adapting ride-on cars began in 2019, as a volunteer at a music therapy clinic for children with developmental disabilities (like cerebral palsy) in downtown Phoenix. I initially began volunteering to examine the clinical implications of music, yet, after speaking with the parents of these children, I exited with a shocking insight: mobility isn’t accessible. Nationally, a pediatric power wheelchair costs up to $25,000 and up to 5 years to receive, severely barring children and their families from gaining independence, a fundamental human right. As a way to build a cost- and time-effective solution to this issue—inhibiting more than 500,000 children with disabilities nationally—using ride-on cars, I founded my initiative, Magical Motors, in 2021.

Now, after working with numerous families to provide accessible independence, I aim to explore both the qualitative and quantitative impacts of these cars (of which I’ve attached an image below) in children with Down syndrome ages 3-8. Although one of the most known disabilities, Down syndrome is rather understudied. Specifically, children with Down syndrome ages 3-8, amidst the most vital stage of childhood development, generally have low muscle tone, yet there exist very few devices that address this gap in development. Understanding the implications of this, I aim to translate “ride-on” technology to this population.

With this project, I’m ecstatic to delve into my passions for pediatric assistive technology and scientific inquiry, which I also hope to pursue with a career in medicine and policy advocacy. I’m extremely grateful to be conducting this under Ms. Robin Lea-Amos at GiGi’s Playhouse, and Ms. Amy Anderson at BASIS Phoenix.

GiGi’s Playhouse

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    Alana Rothschild
    Aanand- thank you for enlightening me on the tremendous cost of power wheelchairs. I honestly had no idea. Your research is fascinating, and I can't wait to learn more!
    Thank you, Ms. Rothschild!
    Hey Aanand, what a wonderful project! I've been thoroughly impressed by what you've done with Magical Motors in the past, so I'm excited to see your study unfold and what waves you can make in the future. The fun, cheap, and accessible mobility vehicle and applying them to aid children in need is genius to me, and I have no doubt you'll do something incredible there. I hope your research works out for the best!

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