Hazlet Students Built Mini Car For Two-Year-Old W/ Special Needs
Grab the tissues because this story may not leave a dry eye in the house.
Noah Salkowitz, who lives in Howell, just recently celebrated his second birthday but one of his presents shocked everyone, even his mother.
A group of sixth-graders from Hazlet's Cove Road School's LEGO League Club built a customized motorized mini-car that catered to his special needs.
“He (Noah) just lit up and it was the most amazing thing,” said Deahna Grazioli, the club’s adviser. “And (the students) realized what they could do. Seeing something go from an idea on paper to making it and modifying it, that sparked something in them.”
Noah was born with HADDS, a rare neurodevelopmental syndrome which stands for Hypotonia, ataxia, and delayed development syndrome. Which means that he cannot independently do a lot of the things a normal two-year-old likes to do.
“All the milestones were delayed, from holding his head up to rolling over to crawling,” Lisa Salkowitz explained. “He couldn’t even sit up straight unsupported until he was about 14 months old.”
The students worked tirelessly for months so this car would be exactly what Noah needs and they even added special features including roll bars on the sides to ease access, a roll bar and harness on the back for sitting support, a kill switch for safety purposes, and the location of the accelerator.
“...when the car is on and he’s accelerating, his parents can press a button to kill the power (if needed),” Grazioli said. “[And] because of his mobility issues, we moved the accelerator from the foot pedal to the steering wheel. He’s able to use his hands to push this big red button.”
Can you imagine being there for when they presented it? I would have been sobbing. And picture being his mom and getting to watch him drive around in this mini car -- something she probably never thought was even possible.
But I do need to give a shout out to the students responsible for building this mini car- Sabrina Floriano, Abby Milza, Bella Cuccolo, Lily Belajack, Michael D'Amico, Matteo Albuquerque, Reggie Elm and Greg Antheschipped - we are showing you love for using your free time during recess and after school to complete this admirable good deed.
But it gets better. The students have decided that they will be doing a similar project every single year.
“We’re still in the process of researching what we’re going to do next year,” Grazioli said. “They’ve had a lot of fun with this. The possibilities are endless.”
Okay seriously -- I need to go grab tissues.
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