Students Design Toys for Autistic Children

stuffed toy bunny created by FIT student on table next to sewing machine

In spring 2018, for the first time ever, seniors in the FIT BFA Toy Design program learned about designing products for children on the autism spectrum. The department partnered with the Hassenfeld Child Health Innovation Institute (HCHII), which aims to make a transformative impact on the lives of children and their families. The HCHII is a partnership between Hasbro Children’s Hospital, Brown University’s School of Public Health, the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, and Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island.
Students’ designs will be grounded in the direct experience of working with children on the autism spectrum, facilitated by Learning Spring School, a K-8 school located in the Murray Hill/Gramercy neighborhood of Manhattan, just blocks away from FIT. The school, which serves children on the autism spectrum exclusively, was started by a small group of parents in 2001, and has become one of the most highly regarded private schools for special-needs children in New York City.

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