Increase the feeling of independence of children with Down syndrome
In order to help children with Down syndrome feel more independent and equal in their families I designed Din. A playful game for the whole family.
Children with Down syndrome
Children with Down syndrome are not always able do all the things other children, like their siblings, can do. The outcomes of the research I performed for this project (e.g. interviewing parents and observing children with Down syndrome and their families) showed that this makes children with Down syndrome often feel dependent and different in their families. These feelings caused frustration and the children indicated that they want to feel independent and want to take part in their families.
Whereas, really being independent is not always possible as they often are in need of help, I believed that it should be possible to increase the feeling of independence.
Based on my research results I found that family conversations were an important event in which children with Down syndrome did not feel independent and a part of the family.
Therefore, I made it the goal of my project in increase the feeling of independence by increasing their participation in family conversations.
When coming together on the diner table, the boxes are connected to the docking station with magnets.
Din for 4, 5 or 6 family members
The design that meets this goal is called Din. It consists of small boxes, one for every family member. Din consists of small boxes, each for every family member. These boxes can be carried around during the day and contain tiny tasks.
These tasks can be done throughout the day and are used to capture experiences of every family member. The tasks are on such a level that everyone can do them, the child with Down syndrome included.
When the boxes come together at the diner table (being connected with magnets), every family member is able to talk about their box, and thus about their experiences they captured during the day. Because every family member has a very clear moment to tell about their day, a low level, equal conversation is created in which everyone is able to share their stories and get an equal amount of attention. In this way the child with Down syndrome will feel more independent and part of the family.
Prototyping and testing
I made a fully working prototype of the boxes, using 3D-printing. Moreover, I made tiny tasks and printed them on special paper that is water resistant and could be folded and rolled multiple times. Using this prototype I could test the design during diner time with 6 families with a child with Down.
Individual project for the course exploring Interactions (2016)