- *Based on your life experience, skills and interests, what would a design process that is both uniquely yours and effective look like?
Identifying and defining a problem is the first step in a design process. In Sierra Leone, children with autism and other disabilities are being kept from schools and are not receiving services that would improve their overall quality of life. This is our project’s “why”. We have experience with working with children with disabilities in the United States and see how successful they can become both academically and socially, when provided with opportunities and services. We want the same for the children and people of Sierra Leone. This problem gave us an idea to create a tool that is culturally appropriate to screen people for autism. After the people of Sierra Leone are educated on autism and other disabilities, it will help them break the stigma of why these people with disabilities act differently. Hopefully, with our screener, people with autism and other disabilities will be able to participate in school and other events in public. Once our screener is developed and tested, the data that is collected will be reviewed and any changes to the prototype will be made in order for it to become more successful and useful in Sierra Leone. After the screener has been deemed successful, our team’s hope is that it will be discovered by people around the world, and will be adapted and utilized to make a difference in other countries.
- *Identify your three most important stakeholders and list five UNIQUE attributes for each one of them.
- Parents of children with Autism
- Ability to cope
- Unsure of resources
- Community Health Workers
- Eager to Learn
- Children with Autism
- Routine based (need for sameness)
- Dependent on caregivers
- Unusual speech patterns
- Avoids eye-contact
- *Identify three ways in which you will validate your project concept, technology, usability, and business model.
- To validate if the right stakeholders understand our screener, we can collect qualitative information about their opinions of using a screener, address any concerns and adapt when necessary.
- To validate if it is easy to use the screener, we will work with community health workers in Sierra Leone and allow them to have a say in how it will be best used as we know the culture is a major aspect of this project. By having an invested interest, hopefully our screener will be validated faster and used more in Sierra Leone.
- To validate the usability of the final screener, we will test out different options for responding (i.e., yes/no questions, open ended questions, using pictures, etc.) and have users indicate which is the easiest to respond to and analyze which is the most accurate.
- Give three examples of something very interesting you learned from a friend that was a completely alien concept to you
Growing up in an asian immigrant family that spoke virtually no English, I was surrounded only by people with like-minded values up until around high school. I was raised to have extremely collectivist values and around the idea that anything individualist in nature was selfish and wrong. This type of thinking shaped everything I did and all my goals in life was founded upon the basis that I needed to do what was right for my family and hence, I chose the path of least volatility, least unpredictability, and one that will guarantee to bring enough financial stability so that I could take care and give back to my family in the future…even if it was not the path I wanted to take deep in my heart. Throughout college and high school I was exposed to so many different ideas on this, ie. “It’s your life. Don’t waste it living for someone else”. To this day, I am extremely conflicted on this idea due to the values I grew up with and although I am still on that first path I described, something in me also tells me to follow my dreams.
One time, we were scouring the village marketplace where my aunt sold sugar, in a small mountainside village in Indonesia. I definitely wasn’t expecting crispy fried chicken being sold and served to the masses, but what I encountered was unlike anything I’d ever imagine. I heard cries of pain coming from the side alley of the market, and when I turned the corner to look, I saw a large metal cage filled with stray dogs–torn, beaten, and bloody. The men continued to pound them with pipes and sticks until not a single breath escaped their lips. I had a dog of my own, at home in New York City. For some reason I could not do anything but imagine them in this place. I proceeded to see stands on stands of delicacies such as rats, cats, and bats. I was confused as to how such loving, playful animals could be killed so mindlessly, and then…eaten. Then I realized how other cultures view eating beef, or pork as taboo. How ignorant I was to believe everyone in the world should adhere to my way of life, and my values, and then be perceived as strange, or ‘other’ as I if my Americanness made me the standard. It really opened my mind to the plethora of different thoughts and values that exist out there, who’s to decide what is normal?