Go Baby Go at Cleveland State University

Research in early child development research has shown that independent mobility is linked to cognitive, social, motor, language and social-emotional development. From 6 months to 3 years of age, typically developing children move toward people or things that capture their interest, learning from their environment and forming important neurological pathways. However, up to 9% of children under the age of 16 present with motor impairments that significantly restrict their abilities to participate in play and leisure activities. This lack of participation can hinder a child’s ability to develop social and physical competencies and can negatively impact a child’s quality of life. However, through thoughtful collaboration with community partners, a potential exists to minimize environmental barriers through the provision of low-cost technology to augment a child’s underlying physical capabilities and subsequently optimize participation in play and leisure activities that are appropriate for his/her age. The PLAAY on the Move initiative intends to expose children of all ability levels to new, engaging, and enriching activities in the community that naturally foster development across multiple domains

Inter-Professional Experiential Learning

Students engaging in Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Education, or other related professions are able to work together with the children to gain an inter-professional experience. They learn how to work with other people from different fields and how to combine their skills to provide the greatest benefit to the children as well as allow them to learn.

Meet the Faculty


Madalynn Wendland 

Madalynn Wendland, PT, DPT, PCS, ATP, received her bachelors of science in physical therapy from the Ohio State University and post-professional doctorate from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She is Associate Clinical Faculty in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program and Associate Director for Interprofessional Education in the School of Health Sciences at Cleveland State University.  Her research interests involve the use of developmental assessments to identify children at risk for neuromotor delays and implementation of early, targeted interventions including the use of low-cost technologies for children with mobility and sensory impairments to maximize participation and optimize long-term outcomes.  She has a large Greek family with whom she spends much of her time, including her husband and two children!


Kelle DeBoth

Dr. Kelle K. DeBoth, PhD, OTR/L earned her doctorate degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia.  Dr. DeBoth is an Assistant Professor in the Occupational Therapy Program at Cleveland State University.  Her research interests include children with developmental disabilities and sensory processing disorders, including the examination of behavioral and neurophysiological responses of children to environmental stimuli, in addition to investigating the effects of interprofessional education, practice, and interventions.  Dr. DeBoth is an avid USTA tennis player who spends her free time with her children and on the court!


John Schaefer 

John Schaefer, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of special education in the Teacher Education Department at Cleveland State University. Before earning his doctorate degree in special education from Ohio State University, Dr. Schaefer worked as a classroom teacher for children with intellectual and development disabilities. His research interested include supporting inclusive education for all children and evidence-based practice for preparing practitioners to work with students with severe disabilities. Outside of PLAAY on the Move, Dr. Schaefer still spends many weekends at the Children's Museum and Zoo with his own young children. 


Anne H. Berry

Anne H. Berry joined Cleveland State University in August 2016 as an assistant professor of graphic design in the Department of Art and Design. She received her BA in art from Goshen College and her MFA in graphic design from the School of Visual Communication Design at Kent State University.

In addition to a research focus that includes race, representation, and ethnic and racial disparities within the field of graphic design, her collaboration with PLAAY on the Move builds on her scholarship in user experience design and design pedagogy.

Berry works as a design consultant, is a co-founder of design studio LightBox, and serves as the chief creative officer for Round3, an educational web application that facilitates online peer reviews for students in K-12 and higher education.


Cigdem Slankard

Cigdem Slankard is an Assistant Professor of Film and Media Arts. She was born and raised in Turkey and received her BA in translation and interpreting from Bogazici University (Istanbul, Turkey) in 1999. She first came to the United States in 1998 to study film and video at State University of New York in Binghamton. In 2002, she received a Master of Fine Arts in filmmaking from Ohio University.

She has written and directed several short film and video projects including Fresh Start (2017), Cultivation (2016) and Comfortable (2013). Her work has been included in several exhibitions and film festivals nationally and internationally. 


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Teresa Peritz

Teresa Peritz is the Costume Shop Supervisor and Faculty Designer for the Department of Theater and Dance. She holds a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music and a MFA in Theatrical Design from Case Western Reserve University. Before she became a costume designer, Teresa was an opera singer.

She collaborates with PLAAY on the Move to adapt and customize harnesses as well as decorate the framing and some of the harnesses to enhance a child friendly environment.

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"This semester’s experiences can be summarized in three words: enlightening, encouraging and informative. It has taken my mind out of the “physical therapy tunnel,” allowed me to be aware of other professions’ perspectives, and encouraged my endeavor to be a well-rounded physical therapist. It was an incredible semester that offered a unique experience that I will appreciate as I develop into a practicing PT." 

-Lee Ann Magiera, DPT Class of 2018

"This semester's experience can be summarized in three words: enlightening, encouraging, and informative."



"These children need more emphasis on working together when it comes to diagnosing and treating."

"SFT has opened a new world of professional integration for me. In my personal life, I am so much more aware of children with mobility impairments and the difficulty that they may have in relation to communication based on the mobility impairments. Professionally, I have greater understanding of the importance of working in interdisciplinary teams with mobility impairments. These children need more emphasis on working together when it comes to diagnosing and treating various weaknesses in communication and mobility. I look forward to learning more about this population and becoming more involved with physical therapists as a team for treatment."

-Emily Ladich, SLP Class of 2017



"The most impactful, yet challenging component to this class for me was participating in hands on activities with children in the harness. At first, I found it difficult to have a “hands-off” approach and let the child explore the environment in their own way. By the end of the semester however, I was able to provide weight bearing activities and minimize my manual cueing. Having now been exposed to the GoBabyGo project, I am constantly thinking about ways new environments I experience can be modified. By further researching this project, I have learned so much about the importance of mobility on socialization and independence, motivating me further to become a pediatric PT."

-Jennifer MacPherson, DPT Class of 2017

"Having been exposed to the GoBabyGo project, I am constantly thinking about ways new environments I experience can be modified."