Product Design Disabilities (Brain injury Brain injury often limits the…
Product Design Disabilities
Brain injury often limits the intellectual and/or physical capabilities of a person. It may be the result of an accident (such as a road accident) or it could be something that a person sustained before or during birth (for instance, a lack of oxygen).
Products that would aid or
help somebody’s memory
(for example, a magnetic board with symbols/graphics which help someone remember important events and times).
– products that help people collate their memories and help them to remember who they are.
, ordering and sequencing games.
that help a person relax (for example, lighting, tactile textiles...)
memory games that encourage use of memory – for example, finger labyrinths.
– their ability to move, co-ordinate,
taste and speak.
– their ability to think, listen, process instruction and communicate.
– brain injury can affect hormone production which leads to depression, mood swings, personality change, anxiety, anger and frustration. There are also the problems that might follow any serious injury such as post traumatic stress disorder.
These factors will also have an effect on a person’s
Dementia and old age
As we age we find that there are a whole range of things we cannot do as well. This may be physical such as getting about the house or mental/intellectual such as remembering things and learning new skills.
Old people need lots of different aids to help them perform physical tasks. Examples are devices to help them
take the lids off jars
Easy grip garden tools
would make a good project
can be simple,
could be designed. This could be a good ergonomic project. Maybe it could even include lighting
Many of the products that are designed for people suffering from brain injury are also suitable for people suffering from dementia.
Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or a series of strokes. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, but not the only one.
A person with dementia may also experience changes in their mood or behaviour. Dementia can affect co-ordination and movement too. Some sufferers have trouble moving, others may shake uncontrollably.
Cerebral palsy is a condition that affects muscle control and movement. It is usually caused by an injury to the brain before or after birth. There are different forms of the condition such as Spastic cerebral palsy, Dyskinetic cerebral palsy, Ataxic cerebral palsy, and mixed cerebral palsy.
Most people with cerebral palsy suffer from Spastic cerebral palsy, this is characterised by stiff muscle tone which restricts movement and prevents areas of the body from developing properly.
It affects speech as well as co-ordination and movement.
Stool scooters for small children to aid mobility and develop co-ordination.
Controllers for computers that are easier to use than a mouse.
Gloves for small children – no thumbholes and easy tightening.
Musical instruments that are played by touch or breaking light beams.
Adaptive controllers for video games.
Beanbags and seating that adapts to body shape.
ASD (Autistic spectrum disorder)
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability. Each person will have a very individual set of needs. Some autistic people have high intellectual ability but may suffer from several several problems*
Problems with events that are not part of their routine.
(for example, high levels of background noise may disorient them or upset them)
They are likely to have problems reading people and understanding the emotions of others.
Some autistic people have learning difficulties and may not have a good grasp of language.
A game for autistic children that teaches them about
A toy that helps autistic children with
(for example, a set of hand puppets)
A sensory product that produces a coloured light.
A sensory product that has a range of textures or parts to explore (for example, a cushion, ball or box which uses a range of materials)
A game for children that teaches them about the
school day routine
(for example, a jigsaw that allows a parent to help plan/warn the child about the events that will happen during the day)
that demonstrates an engaging phenomena (like Newton’s balls or a decorative sand timer)
to escape the world
Dyslexia is an SPLD (specific learning difficulty). It does not affect intellectual ability but can affect a person’s learning.
Products which help people grip pens and pencils.
Tints which help students read more easily, a product that lights a surface in a particular colour would help reading and writing. These remove ‘visual stress’ This is especially true of visual dyslexia.
A reading lamp where the colour could be adjusted might do the same thing.
A student with dyslexia may mix up letters within words and words within sentences while reading. They may also have difficulty with spelling words correctly while writing; letter reversals are common.
Dyslexia also affects the way information is processed, stored and retrieved, with problems of memory, speed of processing, time perception, organisation and sequencing.
Some may also have difficulty navigating a route, left and right and compass directions.
Down’s syndrome is caused by the presence of an extra chromosome in a baby’s cells. Down’s syndrome usually occurs because of a chance happening at the time of conception.
Vision & Hearing
Autistic Spectrum Disorders are also more common.
Sensory products would suit a Down’s person. Sensory lighting, tactile/texture based products.
Products that develop co-ordination and core strength. Puzzles, balance toys etc.
As with autistic children, toys that develop awareness of emotions are also very relevant for Downs children.
Toys which encourage music and rhythm.