First Wheels

Special Needs Mobility Ministry



First Wheels is a project of Thru the Roof Special Needs Ministry at Houston's First Baptist Church.
Our goal is to share the love of Jesus by serving His special children and their families.

First Wheels is based on Dr. Cole Galloway's Go Baby Go project at the University of Delaware.

The concept is to modify readily available children's ride-on toys for use by special needs kids.
Exploration is crucial to early childhood development and we want to help these kids explore their world.
Each child's abilities are different, so the modifications necessary vary greatly.

Thru the Roof
Special Needs Ministry

Houston's First Baptist Church


Vehicles from First Wheels are requested by contacting Brittany Johnson at Brittany.Johnson@HoustonsFirst.org

Application Form

Donations to First Wheels may be made through Houston's First Baptist Church. Just designate "First Wheels" on your donation.


Articles about First Wheels:

April 10, 2016:
Houston Chronicle: First Baptist Church marks 175 years as evangelical force.

March 5, 2016:
Houston's First Baptist Church: Ready for Takeoff


Examples of First Wheels Cars:

October 19, 2014:
Baby Kate Owen was presented with our first Bumbo Wheel Chair.

Features:
  • Based on a Bumbo child seat.
  • Unpowered (child-powered)
  • For toddlers with use of their arms,
    but may not be able to walk.
  • Casters front and rear.
  • 12" tires canted inward so the child can easily reach them to maneuver.
  • Smaller casters in front allow the chair to tilt forward just a little,
    so that the child can reach down in front
  • Personalized

Little Kate checks out her new wheels.

Kate is just 8 months old now, but it won't be long until she's wheeling herself around.

Youtube video of Kate's Bumbo wheel chair construction and presentation.

Bumbo Wheel Chair Construction Instructions


September 9, 2014:
Silas Jones was presented with the second "Go Baby Go" car built by First Wheels.

Lil Dune Racer Features:
  • Based on Power Wheels Lil Dune Racer car.
  • 6v battery powered.
  • Push-buttons added to tops of yoke handles to make it go.
  • Adjustable electronic speed control slows the car to a safe speed,
    with controlled acceleration.
  • H-Harness added to provide necessary torso support for boy with scoliosis.
    Padded "roll cage" added to position harness correctly.
  • Temperfoam seat cushion added to provide necessary spinal padding.
  • First Wheels Power Panel added to provide master switch,
    indicator lights and more convenient battery charging.
  • Personalized license plate.


Silas

Silas Learns to Operate His Lil Dune Racer

Youtube video of Silas's first ride.

May 30, 2014:
Justice Camp was presented with the very first "Go Baby Go" car built by First Wheels.

Tow Mater Features:
  • Based on Tow Mater ride on car.
  • 6v battery powered.
  • Adjustable electronic speed control slows the car to a safe speed,
    with controlled acceleration.
  • Padded "roll cage" keeps the child positioned on the car.
  • Padded velcro seat belt keeps child on seat.
  • Padded backrest added to ensure that the child can't fall backwards.
  • First Wheels Power Panel added to provide master switch,
    indicator lights and more convenient battery charging.
  • Personalized stickers


Justice's previous main means of mobility.

Justice goes for his first ride in Tow Mater!

Youtube video of Justice's first ride.

University of Delaware Go Baby Go Resources:



Go Baby Go Videos:


Go Baby Go Articles:

Resources


Vehicles:

Lil Mater Power Wheels - sold by Toys R Us, 6 volt power. These are apparently made of unobtainium. I am on a notification list with ToysRUs to receive an e-mail, if they become available again.
Lil Mater Power Wheels - 6 volt power. These are now listed by Wal-Mart and can be ordered online and picked up at your local store.
Lil Mater - Sold by Wal-Mart - Smaller version, handlebar steering, 6 volt power. These can be ordered online and picked up at your local Wal-Mart.
Bumbo Wheel Chair - A very clever adaptation of the Bumbo floor seat into a mobility device. Site includes instructions and photos on how to make your own.


Parts & Pieces:

Fluid Motion Device Developed by First Wheels in cooperation with Go Baby Go - Rocky Top, the Fluid Motion Device (aka "FMD") is an interface box that translates simple on/off button presses into smooth acceleration, deceleration and turns.
Power Wheels Service Center Parts, manuals & technical info
Kidswheels.com All kinds of ride-ons and parts.
Monster Scooter Parts - Parts for all kinds of mobility scooters, mini-biks, etc, but NOT Power Wheels or other battery-powered ride-on toys.
Canakit - 30A Digital Motor Speed Controller (PWM) This works great as a governor, if you'd like to slow down the vehicle. It also provides a "soft start" feature that eases in the power over 1-1.5 seconds, so it isn't so jerky.
Karlsson Robotics - Buttons, switches, etc. Karlsson sells the "big green button", which is much less expensive than the big red button, includes an LED light and besides, everyone knows that green means "go". Must be used with a relay. This switch cannot handle the current draw wired directly. See the relay FAQ in the Technical Info section below.
Velleman USA - Green LED panel indicator These indicator lights work great for the power panel. They say 12v, but will light fine with a 6 volt circuit, too.
Velleman USA - Yellow LED panel indicator These indicator lights work great for the power panel. They say 12v, but will light fine with a 6 volt circuit, too.
Velleman USA - Red LED panel indicator These indicator lights work great for the power panel. They say 12v, but will light fine with a 6 volt circuit, too.
Digikey Home Page - Joysticks, etc.
Digikey Joystick - direct link These are higher-end proportional joy sticks, as opposed to the simple on/off arcade game joysticks.
Apem Joystick - Small microswitch joystick. This is a really neat, inexpensive joystick. It has simple on/off (non-proportional) action.
Leachco - Wrap Strap Anywhere Safety Strap
Can be used as a safety restraint. Nicely made and colorful.
Mouser Electronics - Terminal Barrier Strips
Terminal barrier strips are essential to keep your wiring tidy, safe and easy to follow. These are rated for 30amps, but still use a #6 screw, so they keep the installation compact. I prefer to use separate strips, generally one for the positive wires connected to each relay, plus a common ground strip. Don't forget jumpers (below) to tie posts together, as needed.
Mouser Electronics - Terminal Jumpers
Terminal jumpers make it easy and tidy to tie two terminal posts together, which is done frequently.
Ace Electronics - 30amp Breaker
This is a good type of breaker to use for these cars.
Particularly if you use a battery other than what came with your vehicle, a fuse or circuit breaker is a must. It could prevent your vehicle from melting down or catching fire! If something stops or jams the motor from turning, the motor and wiring will heat up very quickly. The fuse or circuit breaker will trip and shut off the power before it gets dangerously hot. It is wired into the positive wire as close to the battery as practical. Circuit breakers are commonly called "reset" button. When breakers trip, the button pops out. Breakers are reset by simply pushing the button back in once the cause of the trip has been remedied. Fuses must be replaced. They self-destruct when tripped. Fuses are cheaper, but breakers are much more convenient and only cost about $5.00.
Online Components - Best price on 6v Relays ($2.89) A 6 volt battery does not have enough power to "kick" a 12 volt relay. So, a 6 volt relay must be used. They are not as common as 12 volt automotive relays, since 6 volt cars were mostly phased out decades ago. See the relay FAQ in the Technical Info section below.
SwimWays Cars kickboard Can be used for backrest.
Misty Prints They provide a graphics file with your child's name in the Disney Cars logo or others. The file can be printed, made into stickers, scaled to size, etc. with graphics software. Makes a great finishing touch.


Technical Info:


For more information, contact:
blake@firstwheelshouston.org