Springdale, Arkansas (KFSM) — One special needs child in Northwest Arkansas received a one of a kind Christmas present, a scooter just for him.
Arie McIvor was adopted from China by Shannon McIvor and has only been in the United States for a year and a half.
Arie has severe Hydrocephalus, which causes fluid on his brain. Since moving to the U.S. he has had several surgeries and has made improvements.
“He uses just a regular wheelchair right now where I have to push him and the cool thing about this car is if he learns to use the joystick on the car, then hopefully he will be able to use a power wheelchair when he’s a bit older,” said Shannon.
The robotics team at the Don Tyson School of Innovation, led by their teacher Dru Samuelson, created a new mobility chair sized just for the 5-year-old.
“It really hit me last night, you know, with my wife just saying like these would be essentially his first steps of his own free will and so I got a little emotional last night when I started thinking about that and seeing him out here tonight was just a blast and lot of fun and definitely well worth it,” said Samuelson.
The robotics team used a Power Wheels “wild thing” battery powered toy as the base, and customized it for Arie’s needs so he can sit in it securely. They created a program that controls the scooter with a single joystick and custom wiring to make it all work.
Yesterday (Dec. 20) Arie was able to take his first ride in his new chair.
“Being apart of a robotics team we have so many resources available to us and I think the fact that we got the opportunity to share our knowledge and experience and really change someone’s life I think that made us really feel good about ourselves so we`re pretty happy,” said Abby Herrera who is part of the robotics team. “Not only for us but also for him because in some ways these were his first steps because he hasn`t been able to move by himself so I think we’re really proud to give him that opportunity.”
The school said this is just the first draft and they are already planning tweaks to make it work even better for Arie in the future.