Changing Children’s Lives With Magical Motors

March 15, 2022

By Aanand Mehta and Rohan Fichadia

Aanand is a 16-year-old sophomore at BASIS Phoenix in Phoenix, AZ. He has been playing the cello for the past 6 years, and plays for the Phoenix Youth Symphony. He is also the founder of Musical Minds, a group that plays music for senior homes and memory care centers across the country. Additionally, he has been learning Indian Classical music for the past 12 years. He loves to play basketball, tennis, and volunteer. Aanand aspires to go into the field of medicine in the future.

Rohan is a 16-year-old junior at Millard North High School in Omaha, NE. He has been a member of Boy Scouts for the past 4 years and is an Eagle Scout. He has also organized a build event to modify assistive mobility vehicles and worked to create 3D-printed prosthetic hands. He recently completed an internship at a company working to develop low-cost, advanced prosthetic hands.

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“Wow! I can ride the car? This is mine? I wanna ride the car! This is the best Christmas present ever!” exclaimed Ollie when he first saw the car that we modified for him. Ollie is a 4-year-old with sacral agenesis, a condition characterized by the absence of the lower spine.

We recently rewired a ride-on toy McLaren for him, providing him the experience of moving independently. Moments like Ollie’s reaction are what motivate us to assist as many affected children as possible in regaining mobility.

In 2018, Rohan took on the project of building modified cars for his Eagle Scout project. He became enamored by the fact that he could transform just a few hours and limited money into something that children with developmental disabilities could use to foster social and motor growth. In 2019, Aanand began volunteering at the Neurologic Music Therapy Services of Arizona, where he was introduced to the role of music in rehabilitation therapy for children with developmental disorders. His passion to directly help children with developmental disabilities gain a sense of freedom inspired him to start an organization with which he could accomplish that aspiration.

Finally, in July of 2021, we founded Magical Motors with the goal of initiating an organized system of building assistive technologies for children while creating chapters throughout the world, in an effort to make such technologies accessible to the world and ensure that every child has the right to mobility. At Magical Motors, we aspire to create assistive technologies for children with developmental disabilities. Through the modification of children’s toys, we aim to foster and improve the social, motor, and developmental growth in children ages 3 to 8. We also plan on introducing several of our own curricula, elaborating upon our approaches, to high school districts across the country.

You may be wondering, “How do you modify these cars?” Well, we adapt these cars for children with cerebral palsy and caudal regression syndrome by rewiring the vehicles such that they are controlled by a hand-powered button, as opposed to a foot/accelerator pedal. By performing the aforementioned process, we cultivate an enriched environment for all participants; by teaching essential qualities such as soldering wires and drilling techniques, we prepare car builders for a successful career in the STEM field, and continually reinforce a sentiment of compassion, teamwork, and empathy.

Moreover, after receiving cars, participants develop a newfound attitude of independence and freedom of expression. Overall, our mission is to bring about a more inclusive community. And you can help us fulfill our mission by becoming the founder of a Magical Motors chapter at your school! Visit our website at magicalmotors.org to learn more about becoming a pioneer in our mission!

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