This was my Final Major Project for my degree. It focused on creating school supplies for children with learning differences, mainly dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalulia or an Autistic Spectrum Disorder. I created a product of excercise books or a flexi book along with any required accessories.
In England 23.8% of pupils were recorded in January 2015 as having a moderate learning difficulty (SpLD) and 24.5% have an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). (Department of Education, 2015) Even with a high percentage of children in English schools there is still a shortage of common equipment, for example exercise books that are for children with SpLDs and ASD. There are tinted exercise books and notebooks that are available but these cover the basic problems with reading that many children with SpLDs have where there is room to improve them more so that they can help in more areas. In terms of ASD there is a lot of sensory items, mainly for younger children but not more specific educational equipment.
The Creative Challenge
In response to the lack of educational equipment for children with SpLDs such as; dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia and dyspraxia, especially in the age group of 9-13 that I I’m aiming at, as this covers the transition between primary and secondary education. I am going to design two types of exercise books that are used to help students. One will be a basic exercise book with additional printing on the inside and possibly on the back covers and the pages as an extra support. This would also fit in as much as possible with existing exercise books that the majority of the students would be using. The design of these exercise books has the added benefits of being used by all students increasing the inclusivity in the cost effectiveness in schools. The second will be aimed at children who may need more help and support, it will be as flexible as possible and customisable allowing the student to add sections and move parts around to best suit them, the customisable element of the book means that students who need the support are able to make the book fit in with them and they don’t need to fit in with the design of the book. The second book will be able to support any interchangeable multi sensory materials that the student may require.
Who the work is for
The end result is for children with SpLDs and ASD. The age range I am aiming it at is 9-13 (years 5-8) overlapping the transition phase of primary school to secondary school. By having exercise books that cover this age range it will add additional support to the school during the change in environment. This would also add an element of familiarity that they are used to, making the transition from primary to secondary school easier.
Enable children with SpLDs and ASD to be more independent within the classroom with school work and at home with revision and homework.
Have a more unified learning resources that promote inclusivity in education. The end goal was a range of educational exercise books that will be useful and enable children with SpLDs and ASD to be more independent within the classroom.
I am aiming to deliver two school books, one is a set of books that are similar to the traditional exercise books that are common in schools now. They will be A4 and have some added details on the pages used to primarily support students with dyslexia and dyscalculia. There will be enough books for the main subjects that are shared between primary and secondary school; Englsh/Literacy, Maths/Numeracy, Science, Geography, History, Languages and Religious Education. The second is a flexible book based on the discbound/rollerbind notebook system that can be customised and easily added to. There would be customisable front and back covers with plastic wallets and a zipper wallet that can be used as a pencil case or a multi sensory pocket depending on the students needs.
Below are photos of some of the work in my sketchbook, using research I did into the learning differences I designed pages for the books that would be helpful for students to correctly write their letters, along with a lesson checklist for organisation. I made the books in three pastel colours; blue, green, pink and lilac. This was to reduce some of the effects that people with dyslexia, dyspraxia and dyscalculia experience, an example is flashing pages. Since the books being a different colour to the rest of the class I made the covers have interesting designs on them relating to each subject so that people would focus on that as opposed to why the student has coloured pages. I also added a whiteboard to the back of the book as a useful feature for practicing things for example spelling, I found a whiteboard useful for checking I had spelt things properly in school. I used sheets of whiteboard paper for this so it wasn’t bulky.
These are the logo designs for the ‘company’ behind the creation of the books, I went for the name quarter books as a quarter of school children in the UK have either ASD or a learning difference.
These are the page designs for the books and the flexi book, I got the inspiration from handwriting books that I had at school to help write the letters and numbers properly. These would be printed on to pastel coloured paper that would be thicker than normal to minimise the show through from the other pages, which can cause problems for some learning differences.