We are looking for autistic young adults that are interested in designing their own assistive technology. Think of a personalized fidget spinner, a wake-up light or a mobile phone application. In this blog post, we provide more information about what exactly the workshop will entail.
What can you expect?
During the workshop, you will work with design tools and activities that guide you through a self-directed design process. These activities are spread out over four afternoon sessions taking place from April to May, 2023. These sessions last 1.5h, and are followed up by some ‘homework’ that should not ask much of your time.
During each sessions, you will receive support from a professional design researcher, while discussing your work with peers. The goal of the workshop: to design and realize an assistive technology that will support you in daily life, be it concerning planning and organization, communication and social interaction, or any other area of your interest. Throughout, you will also increase your self-knowledge and get a better understanding of your (dis)appreciation for certain technology artefacts.
One of the central themes of the workshop is neurodiversity: challenges in the daily life of autistic people mainly emerge because the world is designed for and by non-autistic people. This makes it that your everyday environment does not always match your strengths and needs. In this workshop on autism and technology, you will (1) analyse your neurodiverse experience of the world and (2) design and create a technology that fits well with that experience.
Four Design Sessions
Session 1: My Situation + My Focus
During the first session, you will be introduced to the content of the workshop and you will make a start with the first design activities. This includes a photograph activity where you ‘map’ a daily, and reflect on how a technology may smoothly blend into it. At the end of this session, you decide what will be your design focus for the follow-up sessions. In other words: you decide what you want to design for!
Session 2: My Ideas + My Solution
Once you have your design focus clear, it is time to brainstorm on ideas. You will do this in the second session, using templates and ‘tinkering tools’ that will be provided. In addition, you will also receive a template that helps you bring your ideas into fruition. Do you think that your solution already exists? In that case, you will receive help with finding it online, or asking an expert. Do you want to build your solution from scratch? In that case, we invite you to put your programming, modelling or craft skills to use in a creative design process.
Session 3: My Test and My Insight
Once you realized your solution, it is time to test it. For this, you will deploy your assistive technology in the context for which it was designed, asking yourself the following questions: ‘Do I like it? Is it easy in use? Do I appreciate it?’. In addition, you reflect on what could be improved and how you could do this.
Session 4: Round Up and Evaluation
The final sessions consists of two parts. First, you present a new iteration of your solution based on the insights gained from the previous sessions. After that, we round off together. We share our experience with the workshop, and what we gained from it.
When and where?
Session 1: Friday 28 April 15:00-16:30 Session 2: Friday 12 May 15:00-16:30 Session 3: Friday 26 May 15:00-16:30 Session 4: Friday 16 June 15:00-16:30
The afternoon sessions will take place in the DesignLab of the University of Twente. The exact location will be emailed to you once registered.
Research Participation: Design Your Life
Participation also means that you will take part in research on autism and technology, related to the Design Your Life-project. In this project, we are developing a ‘toolkit’ that helps autistic young adults create their own assistive technologies. During the workshop, you will be provided with numerous tools taken from this toolkit, yet specifically preselected for their focus on experience. We would like to know if these tools contribute to more effective and sustainable use of assistive technology.
To evaluate your participation, you will fill in a questionnaire before and after participation. In addition, we would like to ask you some evaluative questions once the workshop is over. This research was approved by the Ethics Committee Natural Sciences and Engineering Sciences of the University of Twente, and you will receive an additional information brochure and a consent form upon registration.
Participation is free of charge. In fact, you will receive 170 euros in compensation for your participation in the Design Your Life-research project.
Please note that there is a limited number of spots available.
Do you have any questions about the workshop? Doubting participation? Let us know. We will happily answer any question that you might have. You can send an email to Niels van Huizen (email@example.com).