Elisava, Barcelona School of design and Engineering
Beautiful and artistic toy design that shows a sensible understanding of the two need of autistic children to interact and communicate through play. The simple and elegant choices of the shapes, colors and materials make this project a success. – Jesse
Love the simplicity of the shapes and the ability for the children to express identity and relationships though non-obvious objects (not dolls or Legos, etc.). – Kate
Smart and beautiful way to help autistic children play and interact. Through the organic, tactile shapes that connect, children can build universes that then snap with their playmates’ universes. A beautiful toy with great thinking behind it. – Susana
The ylly project is a tool of communication and imagination for autistic children. It's a game presented with different pieces and colors separated that are put together by the players to build a sculpture based on relations, exchange, imagination, creation and common help. The project goal is to create a relation through products. How can children create a relation without talking? Products are important; they are a way to express ourselves. In the game they use it to base a relation with their partners, to express an artistic creation and an identity through the results.2. The Brief: Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the context for the project, and what was the challenge posed to you?
The main characteristics of autism refer to the tendency of isolation, not to develop communication and / or creative skills, to point to objects and the difficulty to develop an abstract thought. In addition to these characteristics, children affected by autism distinguish by the incapacity to interact with children of their age, the fact that they create restrictions where they would need to share, they resist changes of their routine and they tend to make many rituals. The problem we had to solve was how to create relations, communicate and understand autistic children. How can we start an interest for children for create this relation. Autistic kids are very alone and don't create a certain relation with strangers, new friends are external people. Parents, family and doctors are having complications too and have to describe the kids and the way to understand them. In the same time, an autistic child doesn’t have a special interest on imagination, creation and they repeat a lot of the same games, same way to play or to use products (cars putted in line etc...). They don't use products as the same way designers thought it would be used, they do their own rules and game with it. How can we design a game to create a certain relation and make them play together through creativity?3. The Intent: What point of view did you bring to the project, and were there additional criteria that you added to the brief?
Working with a specialist, we saw that autistic kids are having a very high sensibility and abilities to details and constructions. They are very patient and meticulous what this makes them a special player. In the same time, they used products to communicate and express themselves what it was interesting to understand how products are important to create something and share it. But in opposite they don't have a special interest of developing a creation or imagination and stay playing more rituals games with a special skill of the order and perfection. This way the different inputs were very interesting and I understood that through the game, it was important to develop abilities of creation for the kids. The first additional criteria were to obligate the players to build something together and to be confronted of relations. The second criteria were to create identity through design and that all kids would have a color and a form to recognize his participation in the result. And the last criteria was to do a game that never end and have a lot of possibilities to be to develop interest and imagination of the kids and to create for them a way to do always something different and break the rituals.4. The Process: Describe the rigor that informed your project. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) What stakeholder interests did you consider? (Audience, business, organization, labor, manufacturing, distribution, etc., as applicable)
In the first time the project was about a concept and a reflection of the society. What brings me to the human purity: the children inside a very complicated world and society. So I decided to do something for kids and create something that can help education or open the mind of them. But this way I thought it was interesting to bring this concept inside a different childhood, the autism. I came to the second part of the project where I start developing the product, once I was sure to do a game for autistic children. I start calling specialist and this way I knew a doctor in France what made the project more interesting and real. Once I had some ideas I called him and we start talking about the autism, he gave me some inputs and a lot of information that I didn’t know, this way I saw that the project was more intense and interesting so I decided to go see him. The work with a French doctor, specialist in autistic children, was very important for co-creation, user tests, brainstorming... In the same way the constant realization of prototype, models and testing in relation with our results was very important too, to certificate the theories and to create a way to build the game by him. I produced the game by myself with silicon and wood in a workshop and the first day we tried the final products with kids was very special.5. The Value: How does your project earn its keep in the world? What is its value? What is its impact? (Social, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, environmental, cultural, gladdening, etc.)
The value of the project is a reflection and a very sensitive way to understand design and disorder. A reflection about industrial and social design, products that can help and be something more than a simple and cold industrial manufacturing esthetic material revalued. A therapeutic product design created to socialize and developed the mind of disorder kids where the important is not the game but what it happen between the players.6. Did the context of your project change throughout its development? If so, how did your understanding of the project change?
The project was created by its own development. I knew from the start that I wanted to do something for children with disorder and problems but I didn't know any about the autism. The development with the doctor and the user tests and prototype was a way to create the project by himself. The goal was always the same "help and create relation" but the way and the results were completely unknown what was better for the project. So the understanding was in constant relation with the process.