In this Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, photo, University of North Florida students, Garrett Baumann, right, Chris Martin, center, and Jason Pavichall, work to customize a toy car so that it can be used by a girl with cerebral palsy at the university in Jacksonville, Fla. At the university, engineering and physical therapy students are converting drivable toy cars from store shelves into custom-made fun for disabled children. The Adaptive Toy program is now in its third year, has received a 5-year grant from the National Institutes of Health and is helping families with disabled children while giving the students a dose of community service that will stick with them long after graduation. (AP Photo/Jason Dearen)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Because of her cerebral palsy, 4-year-old Scarlett Wilgis has trouble opening her hands and can’t get around without help. Her parents have scoured store shelves and websites for toys for her but have mostly been disappointed.
“Finding the toys at Walmart or Target, they’re pretty much non-existent,” said mom Dezaraye Wilgis, sitting with Scarlett in front of their twinkling Christmas tree in St. Augustine. “Or if you get them through a medical supplier they’re extremely expensive.”
While major toy-makers have changed with the times and sell dolls with wheelchairs and crutches, those designed to be used by children with severe disabilities are still difficult, if not impossible, to find. Because the toys have to be customized for each child, the cost can skyrocket.
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This conundrum gave two University of North Florida professors an idea: mix engineering and physical therapy students in a lab with the goal of …
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