Week 3

Week 3 – Getting prepared for show and tell. A further look into Autism, as it is the decided route for my chosen brief. Researching possible technologies and meeting with my family to identify challenges that their child faces due to his autism and try to gain an insight into a day in the life of families dealing with autism. Consequently many problems were identified such as, brushing teeth, general hygiene, and eating habits, to name a few… In order to move on I need to choose one of these challenges to further look into. As the research continues in to the world of autism I discovered that it is extremely common for autistic children to become so attracted to a certain subject that they can become obsessed with it. A very interesting insight came to fruition this week as after speaking to my family who deal with autism in a day to day basis, I was told about my cousin had a fascination of trains more in particular- Thomas the tank engine. On my visit to the house I found this to be the case even more so:

Not only was I greeted with this large train display but after a while my cousin seemed to get slightly restless and as a result opened a very thick book at the page with the flying scotsman train and pointed to it. Bearing in mind he has extremely low functioning autism and can’t verbalise himself very well he was still able to communicate via this book that he wanted to watch the flying scotsman train. Consequently his parents logged on to the computer and typed into youtube ‘flying scotsman’ and he was content for the duration of the visit. I found it extremely impressive how much he knows about trains and how fascinated with them he is, I was told that a couple of weeks prior to my visit they were watching the news on tv and a train appeared as part of the news broadcast and within seconds he has identified the exact train it was in the book that was more than 500 pages thick:

 

He has this attraction with Thomas the tank engine for some reason and when I furthered my research this seemed to be common trait with autism:

http://www.autism.org.uk/about-autism/our-publications/reports/our-policy-and-research-reports/children-with-autism-and-thomas-the-tank-engine.aspx

  • “For some children, Thomas can inspire previously unthinkable leaps of emotion, imagination and symbolic play.”

A very interesting quote here as this simple cartoon seems to have helped autistic children’s imagination. Perhaps there is a way I can embed this into my design. After speaking with my aunt and uncle they seemed to think that the obsession came from the fact that the faces are very predictable (in terms of emotion) as autistic children can struggle to relate to emotion through facial expressions. There is so much to learn with autism but soon I will need to narrow down exactly which route I want to head down with regards to this project.

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