1.*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.
2. *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
3. *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.
4. Give three examples of something very interesting you learned from a friend that was a completely alien concept to you
- When visiting India, a friend explained how the traffic system is able to operate with little regard to traffic lights. Here in the United States, we carefully abide by traffic laws and use guides and signals on the road to ensure safety. In India, drivers use their horns to alert others of their position. Honking is used as an indicator to let other drivers know where you are, with many honking right before passing another car as a warning to not make any abrupt movements, allowing them to weave in and out of traffic safely
- In France and Spain, people often kiss each other on the cheek as a way to greet each other. I didn’t know this was a tradition until recently and I found it really interesting how different cultures have a different way of appreciating one another.
- My Japanese friend often spoke about the Japanese concept of valuing the community. In the United States, we are a very individualistic society. We tend to focus on ourselves and aim to achieve and realize our own goals. Whereas, in other countries, this is not the case. Instead of focusing on the individual, they tend to prioritize the society as a whole. Although I had heard of this before, I was amazed when my friend applied this concept to Japan. She went on the explain how this ideology had been ingrained into them since primary school. They would participate in a variety of activities centered towards cohesion of the whole. Even in the workplace, a space where individuals often lead, the unity of the group was prioritized.