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Toy For Mentally Retarded Children


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#1 Guest_Ramz_*

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 08:51 AM

Hi guys,
I am working on my graduation project where I am designing a toy for normal children including mentally retarded children. This is a universal design project.I am planing to build a toy which will be stimulating for there brain as well as very playfull and exciting experience for kids. I am done with the research part and have good infomation and case studies of delimitations and limitations of normal kids as well as retarded kids. My target user group is 6-10 years (mentally retarded kids) 2-3 years (normal kids).
In this, I am not able to translate the infomation and charactaristics of these children into apt toy. So if any one could could guide me through this by giving personal openion as well as some sites or referances about toy design. please do reply.

thanks,
Ramaa

#2 Guest_Gappie_*

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 09:52 AM

Hey Ramaa,

First of all, it's probably not a good idea to use retarded or mentally retarded since parents and doctors can become offensive to such terms. I did a project in this field in which we used the term Mentally disabled, or disabilities.

But besides that I was wondering if you already have ideas on how you want to tackle this? What we did was to take the most promising outcomes of the research and just start brainstorming, for example, whats missing in their daily play routine and how can you fill that gap. Or focus on what they can do and create a game around that. for instance, we saw that the children on the playground were continuously trying to show their peers on what they can do and they would try to help each other by combining these strengths. This would be a good start-off point for a brainstorm.

Cant really give you many examples, but to me it seems you just need to start generating tons of ideas and use the research to back them up and create more depth.

Hope this helps a little bit.

#3 parel

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 03:14 PM

I would suggest narrowing your focus to a few disabilities that have specific issues that need resolution. Then you can generalize it out. But you are likely to generate more ideas by narrowing your focus.

#4 Guest_firecracker_*

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 03:34 PM

Hahaha...

You write well, but you can tell english is not your first language!

As gappie has said already,


"retarded" is probably the most offensive word you could come up with these days, especially combined with "mental" (which connotes insanity)

You would be better of saying, I am design toys for stupid children than using any of that terminology - hehe


May I suggest something like, "learning impairment".

Avoid using the word "mental" unless you really have to aswell, as like I said even that is a bit of a taboo.

You should perhaps remove any terminology referring to a disability at all.


Instead go for something like "kinaesthetic learners" to positiveley describe the specific aptitudes of the child, and the need for specifically designed toys to engage in thos abilities.

#5 Guest_Ramz_*

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 04:35 PM

thanks to all

Actually I used word "mentally retarded" so that everyone can understand it clearly. I surely dont use it othevise. I know the other words which are used for this disability. but learning disability, or stupid child will cover a broader area of users and i just wanted to specify it correctly to everyone. sorry for using it.

thanks a lot gappie, your reply is really helpfull. I would surely think in that way and hopefull with the help of brain storming I will get some idea. but can you tell me the exact process u followed? i would be glad to know that. thank you once again.

#6 Guest_Gappie_*

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 04:35 PM

That was the word I was searching for, impaired or in our case children who were physically impaired. People (parents, doctors, experts etc.) treat you with more respect and professional attitude when using the right terminology, especially when the subject is sensitive.

Also, Parel is right, try narrowing down your focus, perhaps a good way to do so is by creating personas and pick one to focus your project on. It makes development process so much easier and it helps to justify difficult decisions in your project.

#7 Guest_Gappie_*

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Posted 26 February 2008 - 04:42 PM

thanks to all

Actually I used word "mentally retarded" so that everyone can understand it clearly. I surely dont use it othevise. I know the other words which are used for this disability. but learning disability, or stupid child will cover a broader area of users and i just wanted to specify it correctly to everyone. sorry for using it.

thanks a lot gappie, your reply is really helpfull. I would surely think in that way and hopefull with the help of brain storming I will get some idea. but can you tell me the exact process u followed? i would be glad to know that. thank you once again.


Well it was a long time ago that I did the project and I must say that the process wasn't completely correct. A better way would be to follow the ideas we mentioned earlier. And its important to go out into the field and do observations and interviews, this provides you so much more information than plain research.

#8 Guest_Ramz_*

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 05:54 PM

Yes I am trying to define my focus but because it is a universal design project I am finding it little difficult. As i said being a UD project I have to consider both the groups, I am not able to get one common base which is very important for this kind of project. that is why I am very keen to know the process you followed for your design.
As you said, I already started making matrix of the "need of the children" and there abilities but I am some how not able to convert my analytical data to the concept generation.
so please do send me you process if you can because it will be of great great help. my e-mail id is rama.cans@gmail.com

thank you once again.

#9 Guest_A17_*

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 11:02 PM

Maybe "Mentally Challenged" is what you're looking for.

#10 Guest_superbad_*

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Posted 28 February 2008 - 07:09 AM

The (current) preferred term is "developmentally disabled." Anyway, why would the toys used by this group be any different from any other child's toy? I'm not an early education specialist, but I do have a fairly close relative with Down Syndrome, and she played with regular toys just fine. Granted she is probably one of the smartest Down's kids in the world, but still. Seems to me your project brief is deeply flawed. I also think your age spread is far too big- in my limited experience, a typical developmentally disabled 10 year old is pretty far ahead of an average 3 year old. Their interests are going to be pretty similar to those of any other 10 year old- and toys targeted at 3 year olds are going to seem very babyish. Condescension is condescension, no matter who it's aimed at.

#11 Guest_Gappie_*

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Posted 28 February 2008 - 09:05 AM

Well we we followed a different process in all, focusing on the so-called one-ten-one hundred method. In this method we first did the entire project in one week, after evaluation we did the same in two weeks, again evaluate, and after that we finished the rest of the project starting all over again with the knowledge gained previously. This way you create deadlines and work faster through the first phases of the project which normally can take ages.

This method isn't specifically aimed at this project but it isn't to bad to do this for once, try to do a complete design cycle in one/two days and evaluate. It forces to make quick decisions and although the outcome could be crap it always provides valuable insights in where it goes wrong and also what the strengths are.

I also think that the main focus should be the "developmentally disabled" children because in my opinion, when you create a successful toy for them you can easily transfer those ideas to other less "developmentally disabled" children, or toddlers.

As said before I dont have any documentation about the rest of the process since this was quit some time ago but the most important things are already mentioned.

Good luck

Edit: Yeah finally Concept instead of kinda sketchy :(

#12 Guest_swongler_*

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 04:58 AM

Look, it's not incorrect nor politically incorrect to use the word, "retarded". My uncle is mentally disabled and blind and no one in my family takes offense to the word, "retarded", at all. I also used to work with mentally and physically disabled children, and although used rarely, "retarded" never really shocked or displeased anyone. The only reason that people think it isn't okay to use, anymore, is because its commonly used to offend people that are not retarded (Like, "dude, you're retarded", or, "that's so retarded"); consequently, giving "retarded" a negative connotation. It's the same thing with gay men and women. It's not socially or politically incorrect to use the word, "gay", when talking about a homosexual man or woman, it's just that some people turn the word into an insult, or a negatively associated term (like, "that's so gay").

Sorry to get a little off topic, but best of luck on your project.

#13 Guest_Ramz_*

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 07:15 AM

hello,

thank you gappi for the process. Its looking interesting and it will surely help me in the project. please keep me informed if you get any related stuff. thank you once again.

superbad,
I am from India. here in india, parents are not very aware of learning and mental disabilities. lot of them find it very hard to accept the fact that there child is not "normal". lots of other issues and taboos are created by society and parents. usually after child becomes 6 yr old parents put them in special schools. where as, in other countries the age of admission is only 3 years. so i totally agree to you if you are saying that your family member is very active and able, at the age of 3. Because of this late admission, children are difficult to handle and they are either suffering from nigletive/shamefull attitude or over-protective attitude of parents and caretakers.
All children ( normal and disabled) are very difficult to understand. they are very spontaniouse and creative, but if you really have a very close family member who is mentally challenged then you can really help me with the understanding of these children. I would really like to know what he/she likes to play? what does he/she do in free time? what does he/she learns? how does he/she behaves with other children? does she play pretend-play ( "i am a princess" or " i am a race car")? please let me know more about him/her. i will be very very thankful to you.


swongler,
thank you for understand me. I had no intention of creating a debet or hurting anyones feeling by using these words. but your reply is very supportive and logical.
as I said to superbad, I would like to know about these children from you. ( as you have experince of working with mentally disabled children)
I am at the stage of generating some interesting and brain stimulating ideas for the toy for these children and I want to know what they want or would like to play. I dont want to force them to do anything but i want them to play with it and enjoy.

thanks,
Ramaa

#14 Guest_Ramz_*

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 07:18 AM

hello,

thank you gappi for the process. Its looking interesting and it will surely help me in the project. please keep me informed if you get any related stuff. thank you once again.

superbad,
I am from India. here in india, parents are not very aware of learning and mental disabilities. lot of them find it very hard to accept the fact that there child is not "normal". lots of other issues and taboos are created by society and parents. usually after child becomes 6 yr old parents put them in special schools. where as, in other countries the age of admission is only 3 years. so i totally agree to you if you are saying that your family member is very active and able, at the age of 3. Because of this late admission, children are difficult to handle and they are either suffering from nigletive/shamefull attitude or over-protective attitude of parents and caretakers.
All children ( normal and disabled) are very difficult to understand. they are very spontaniouse and creative, but if you really have a very close family member who is mentally challenged then you can really help me with the understanding of these children. I would really like to know what he/she likes to play? what does he/she do in free time? what does he/she learns? how does he/she behaves with other children? does she play pretend-play ( "i am a princess" or " i am a race car")? please let me know more about him/her. i will be very very thankful to you.


swongler,
thank you for understand me. I had no intention of creating a debet or hurting anyones feeling by using these words. but your reply is very supportive and logical.
as I said to superbad, I would like to know about these children from you. ( as you have experince of working with mentally disabled children)
I am at the stage of generating some interesting and brain stimulating ideas for the toy for these children and I want to know what they want or would like to play. I dont want to force them to do anything but i want them to play with it and enjoy.

thanks,
Ramaa

#15 Guest_swongler_*

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 07:58 AM

Well a lot of the kids I worked with were savants, so the kinds of things most of them liked were math, puzzle, and music/rhythm related. But most the other kids were attracted to anything with really bright colors. Interactive noises also worked. For example, there was this bright red, yellow, and green train toy that was popular with a bunch of the kids, especially autistic and obsessive-compulsive children. It was a wooden train on a modular wooden track, so the kids could build their own pathways, and a bell rang for every few feet the train moved. About the colors - I also noticed that when they used crayons, a lot of them went straight for yellows, bick reds, sky blues, and other bold/bright colors. Colors like brown and gray were not used as often.

The habits and likes of kids with mental disabilities are extremely varied. A universal toy may be difficult to make. I would suggest the same as Gappie, do some research, some interviews, and try to focus on a group or set of kids with more common mental disabilities, like autism. But if you made something universal, it should probably have a way to adjust feature settings, so that it can be tuned to each individual child.

Just some observations I made, but I'm no real expert. Hope this helps you a little.




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