BFA Toy Design students are completing the second phase of the Toy Design Department’s initiative to design products for children on the autism spectrum.
Early in the first year of this ambitious initiative, students were immersed in research and presentations from experts in autism spectrum disorder from the Hassenfeld Child Health Innovation Institute in Providence, Rhode Island, and national autism advocacy organization The Autism Project. After studying research, theory, and video case studies, students completed field observations at LearningSpring School. Over two visits, FIT students observed autistic students in their academic classes and recess sessions. After noting the children’s play patterns, FIT students used that knowledge to inform their designs for toys for early-childhood-aged children with autism.
In April, the presenters from the Hassenfeld Child Health Innovation Institute and The Autism Project—Dr. Patrick Vivier, Dr. Stephen Sheinkopf, and Joanne Quinn—visited FIT to offer feedback on students’ initial concept sketches and ideation pages. The next step is a final, formalized share of the completed concept boards with the group from Hassenfeld Child Health Innovation Institute.