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Kid Develops accessible car seat for kids with autism

ADI

Naomi Ghitleman winner of ADI’s third annual “Make the Change” STEM Challenge (Photo courtesy ADI)

The second winner of ADI’s third “Make the Change Challenge” STEM accessible design contest was won by a schoolchild from Florida named Naomi Ghitelman who developed a specialized car seat for children with autism. The student from the Posnack School in Davie, Florida won a $1,000 prize for her work.

ADI, an Israeli organization, says its mission is to care for the most precious members of our society – those who cannot care for themselves.

Ghitelman, described as a “kind and creative student” prevailed with her “Massaging Car Seat,” an adapted comfort and communication-focused car safety seat for children on the Autism spectrum. Inspired by a neighbor with Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), for whom car trips are a nightmare, Ghitelman envisioned a car seat that includes several sets of rollers and airbags to massage and physically stimulate scared and restless children, while also piping in calming music through a specially stabilized headrest. The cherry on top is an integrated tablet with a simplified interface that allows the child to communicate their needs to the driver, as well as play games independently.

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People on the autism spectrum tend to suffer from problems dealing with loud noises and other forms of strong physical stimuli. This is why riding around in a car can be so problematic for them.

Naomi Ghitelman explained her reasons for creating the device in her contest entry saying, “It made me sad to hear how difficult it is for my neighbor to go on long car rides. He is always annoyed and uncomfortable in the car, so I wanted to create a car seat that would be so calming and comfortable that he would want to stay in the car forever. This design can help so many children, and I hope that a car seat company that can actually create it will take notice.”

“Our ‘ADI Bechinuch’ (‘ADI in Education’) disability inclusion programming has become a staple in classrooms across North America,” said Elie Klein, ADI’s Director of Development for the US and Canada. “It is particularly gratifying to see that so many of our partners, including the Posnack School, the Ramaz School in NYC and the Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School in Baltimore, have made the contest a central component of their STEM curriculums.”

ADI (pronounced ah-dee) is the Hebrew word for a radiant and multifaceted jewel, a name that reflects our expansive vision and broad scope of activities, including disability care, rehabilitation, research, employment, education, community services and Tikkun Olam. It also speaks to the importance and great value of our mission to care for the most precious members of our society – those who cannot care for themselves.

By advancing ability, ADI empowers Israel’s most vulnerable individuals – children, adolescents and young adults with severe disabilities – to reach their greatest lifetime potential. ADI is also reimagining rehabilitation, providing cutting-edge therapeutic and recovery services to individuals needing inpatient and outpatient care following an accident or health event at the first-ever rehabilitation hospital in Israel’s south.

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