Now Madeline Hauschild will be able to drive a toy car just like her brother.

On Wednesday, Madeline, 3, received a battery-operated toy car modified so that she could sit in it and make it go forward by pushing a large button on the steering wheel. Madeline, who has cerebral palsy, was one of six small children who received cars through a program overseen by the University of Nebraska Medical Center and Children’s Hospital & Medical Center.

Close to 50 UNMC physical therapy students and University of Nebraska-Lincoln engineering students retrofitted off-the-shelf cars to give them push-button propulsion. Some children, because of their conditions and development delays, can’t push pedals on the floor. The UNMC and UNL students also tweaked seats in the small cars to provide support and cushion for children who struggle to sit up.

The program is part of an initiative called GoBabyGo! conceived several years ago at the University of Delaware. The cars give children with little mobility the opportunity to play, explore and socialize rather than feeling stuck and dependent on parents or siblings to move them around.

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