Thanks to 10 innovative students, a disabled father can now enjoy one of the simple pleasures of parenthood.
Jeremy King, 37, of Germantown, Maryland is a very proud dad. He also happens to have a disability after surgery to remove a brain tumor left him with physical challenges. When the couple found out they were expecting in June of 2020, they wondered if Jeremy could safely take care of a child on walks and other outings.
Jeremy was eager to take an active role in his baby’s life.
The surgery had affected Jeremy’s balance. Despite this hurdle, he and his wife Chelsie weren’t ready to give up on their dream of Jeremy safely taking care of their baby.
“While he can walk, he can’t do so safely carrying a child…So we jumped into, ‘OK, what do we need in order for him to parent safely?’ and honestly, not a whole lot came up — there’s just really not a ton of resources out there for disabled parents.”- Chelsie King told, “Good Morning America.“
Chelsie was determined to find a solution.
She reached out to Matt Zigler, a colleague at Bullis School, where she works as a drama teacher and advisor. Zigler teaches a class at Bullis School called “Making for Social Good.” The class focuses on designing products that make a positive social impact.
Chelsie asked Zigler if he could help them “come up with something that might attach to Jeremy’s wheelchair.”
Luckily, Ziegler’s students were starting a new trimester. He decided to give them the opportunity to help solve the Kings’ predicament with a design of their own.
“The idea of the course is to start out by trying to understand the problem, so we did interviews with the family…We talked to somebody at the local fire department who actually does infant car seat installation training to try to better understand how those things work.” – Zigler told “Good Morning America.“
The students were able to get a wheelchair from the school nurse to use as a model for testing.
Using computer programs like MakerSpace for 3D printing along with some trips to Home Depot, the students got to work. They weight tested their designs to make sure they were safe for a baby.
“We were worried that it wouldn’t be able to hold the baby because it might fall over or fall out of the attachment to the wheelchair…So we tested it with cinder blocks to see if it would be able to hold a lot more weight than the baby.” – Evan Beach, 15, told “Good Morning America.”
The student’s hard work and dedication meant so much to Jeremy King.
“It was certainly emotional seeing the process and everything that went into this…I really feel the students took all my concerns to heart when creating the prototypes.” – Jeremy King told “Good Morning America.”
Chelsie King was in awe of the student’s progress and true passion for the assignment.
Not only was the finished product a success, but it has also made a lasting impact on all parties involved. The students will likely never forget this assignment and how their efforts gave a father the simple pleasure of walking with his child.
“I love the idea that these students got this project and it’ll be something long-lasting…I know that they’ll remember that for years to come, which is all you can hope for as an educator.” – Chelsie King told GMA
Now watch the video to see their heartwarming story.
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