Oliver King has limited mobility.
That's because he has a condition called muscular dystrophy, which causes progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass, making movement difficult.
For that reason, the two-year-old from Auckland finds doing the simplest things, like walking, quite tough.
“He can’t walk long distances. They liken it to walking with gumboots full of water, and eventually he will lose the ability to walk,” mum Corinne King told the New Zealand Herald.
But thanks to a little red car with his name on it, Oliver is making serious progress.
An electric toy car, it was provided by GoBabyGo, a charity whose founders believe that moving around transforms a child’s development, regardless of their abilities or disabilities.
Since he got his new wheels, little Oliver has become much more independent and is in total control in the front seat, from figuring out the car’s sound system to sorting through its accessories.
“That was not like him to get in there and do that without me,” Corinne said. “It’s really going to help Oliver’s confidence.”
Oliver and his big brother Ethan (4), who has the same degenerative condition, are just two of the 76 Kiwi kids to get electric cars adapted for each of them so they can become as mobile as their peers.
While it certainly seems to be helping kids in a major way, Professor Cole Galloway, the brain scientist who set up the charity, said the reason for its success is simple.
“This kind of toy is cool, and cool brings other kids to you, so what happens? They socialise more, they communicate more, their cognitive skills get a little bit higher,” he said.
“And the adults are watching. These cars don’t say ‘my kid can’t do something,’ which everyone has been saying to them. These guys say ‘this is cool.’”