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Michael S Hoefler Jr

new york, ny, United States

Member since March 10, 2008


  • BOUNCE baby sign products

    Communication, Industrial Design

    Patricia_03_132_

    BOUNCE reinforces communication and relationships between Deaf children and Hearing parents, which is otherwise non-existent because of language barriers.

    BOUNCE incorporates American Sign Language into children’s toys and accessories as a means to promote preverbal communication in which all children and parents can benefit as well as access.

    • BOUNCE seeks to de-stigmatize cultural deafness and provide access to its language in Mainstream culture.
    • As a marketing tool, BOUNCE is universal and benefits all children and parents.
    • As a result, Hearing parents of Deaf children who benefit the most from preverbal communication will no longer feel isolated because of it.

    BOUNCE is a product of collaboration with The Lexington School for the Deaf, which has served the broader Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Community of the New York metropolitan area since 1864.

    NEXT STEPS

    • Establish BOUNCE as educational toy and must have for all parents.
    • Market stuffed toy/animal as an introductory product that maintains qualities and language associated with American Deaf Culture.
  • BOUNCE baby sign products

    Communication, Industrial Design

    Patricia_132_

    BOUNCE reinforces communication and relationships between Deaf children and Hearing parents, which is otherwise non-existent because of language barriers.

    BOUNCE is a product of collaboration with The Lexington School for the Deaf, which has served the broader Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Community of the New York metropolitan area since 1864.

    BOUNCE incorporates American Sign Language into children’s toys and accessories as a means to promote preverbal communication in which all children and parents can benefit as well as access.

    • BOUNCE seeks to de-stigmatize cultural deafness and provide access to its language in Mainstream culture.
    • As a marketing tool, BOUNCE is universal and benefits all children and parents.
    • As a result, Hearing parents of Deaf children who benefit the most from preverbal communication will no longer feel isolated because of it.

    NEXT STEPS

    • Establish BOUNCE as educational toy and must have for all parents.
    • Market stuffed toy/animal as an introductory product that maintains qualities and language associated with American Deaf Culture.
  • Bounce Logo

    Communication, Industrial Design

    Logo_177_

    BOUNCE logo

    best, Michael

  • Demographics

    Communication, Industrial Design

    Bath_132_

    the following is an anonymous demographic take from 20 mothers of different race, religion, income as well as their geographic location (i.e. neighborhood.)

    One of the questions on my survey ask parents/focus group participants to mark their household income, write their zip code as well as their/their child's ethnicity. All the mothers who marked Caucasian (except for one) listed their household income at $150,000 + annually. The latter were either Latino/Hispanic, Asian or African American with an average income of $50,000 - $100,000 annually. The mothers who make $150,00 + annually (and it should be noted that that option was the highest listed multiple choice) all live in Manhattan (Murray Hill and the West Village to be exact). When asked how much they valued my individual products the average was $45.00 to $55.00 for either set of building blocks or a blanket.

    The mothers remaining, who took the same survey and were participants in the same way, live in either Queens, Long Island or Brooklyn. One is a resident of New Jersey. When asked to value the individual products their average came to $10.00 to $15.00. That's a difference of approximately $30.00. Also, of the above mentioned mothers, only have have a college education, one only completed high school in Columbia and is here illegally. These mothers also have children who are deaf.

    My target customer is first and foremost parents with Deaf children (specifically Hearing parents of Deaf children). My secondary mar...

  • MOOSE!

    Communication, Industrial Design

    Moose_132_

    Just thought that this was interesting. The most popular first word/sign the children of deaf parents I have interviewed so far say that their baby's first word (or among there first words) is moose. MOOSE?!?!?!

    One reason for this phenomenon is that the sign for moose is relatively easy and is perhaps the most basic gesture an infant can make. Infants have poor eyesight the first few months after birth and can only see close up (within 18 inches approximately) as well as only high contrasted images. For this reason parents are often up close and in their child's face, talking, cooing, playing, touching, etc. Among these activities the parents hands aren't tied behind their backs. Their hands are kinetic (in Deaf parents more so than Hearing parents).Put yourself in a situation (hypothetically) where you are asked to interact with an infant. Chances are you may very well bring your hands to your face and try on a few funny faces. This is perhaps the easiest way of describing why children sign moose early in their communicational development.

    Secondly, because of the ease for signing moose, Deaf parents often incorporate it among other signs such as 'mom', 'dad', 'all done' and the manual alphabet (signed alphabet).

    For future reference, I will include on my survey a question regarding the child's first word/sign.

    Best, Michael

  • ASL and its benefits

    Communication, Industrial Design

    I met with a friend, Christian, the other day at his house for Easter. There I met his wife, brother, brother's wife, and his two adorable little girls Brooklyn (3 y/o) and Remy (13 mos.). They were like most all little girls, talkative, excited by new company and wanting to engage me in every aspect. Both know American Sign Language, bits and pieces, and they are fully hearing.

    Amy, their mother, started teaching Brooklyn ASL when she was 6 months old and benefited quickly after. She used signing aids such as Baby Einstein Movies and books to teach Brooklyn the basics such as 'eat', 'more', 'no more', 'hat' and 'milk'. Brooklyn could successfully communicate basic ideas and thoughts to her parents at 11 months old before she could do so verbally. This isn't because speaking is harder than sign language, but because the vocal chords are not fully developed yet; another reason why sign language is beneficial as a platform for communication.

    When Remy was born, ASL was immediately implemented.At 13 months old, Remy can tell her parents she is hungry, whether she wants more soup and baby (this is perhaps the most popular sign I have seen so far). Remy is now beginning to speak. What I found most exciting and interesting is that her parents talk 'up' to her. That is, instead of mimicking her baby talk and gurgling, they talk to her as though she is an adult. There are many theories for and against this. This is a common practice among Deaf parents and their children. Baby sig...

  • Focus Group 4

    Communication, Industrial Design

    User-test-04_177_

    Preschool at Lexington School for the Deaf (Queens)

    Age 3 months to 18 months old (Class size 7)

    One of the groups of children I had the great pleasure of working with today was a play group at Lexington School for the Deaf. In order for a child to be admitted to the school, parents must come at least once a week with their son/daughter to the Ready to Learn Center on campus. At ready to learn, children ages 3 months to 3 years participate in games and other auditory and visual communication exercises with their parent(s) and a trained specialist. The goal is to provide for a strong foundation of communication and interaction between child and parent. Every Wednesday the children and their parents get together for an hour and a half social where there is play time followed by snack time! This weekly activity allows parents to interact with one another as well as their children with other children. Of the 7 children there (two of which are brother and sister) only 3 of them have Deaf parents.

    With the help of the RTL staff, I set up several of my toys amongst other toys and gave a brief informal introduction/presentation. It is sometimes nerve racking for me to sign in front of others when I hardly do it at all by myself, let alone if I ever go home (Both of my parents are Deaf). The parents were eager to participate and went about the toys, mimicking the signs to their children. I spoke to parents at random and found, to my surprise, that those parents who could hear were ...

  • Focus Group # 2- 3

    Communication, Industrial Design

    Preschool at Lexington School for the Deaf (Queens)

    Age 3 - 5 years old (class size 4-6)

    Today I brought the blanket and building blocks to a school for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (HOH) at Lexington School for the Deaf in New York City. It was really brilliant. The first class I met with is taught by Amanda and all the children (ages 3 to 4 years) practiced sign language and all but one had Deaf parents. So, needless to say their range of speech/vocabulary and sign was amazing! I found myself having a brief conversation with every one (some more animate than others).

    They got really excited about the blocks. Especially those blocks that rattled or had crinkly affects such as plastic or paper on the inside. It is very important to note, and I am sure it will only become more obvious, the acute need to concentrate heavily on material and textures.

    I first asked the children what sign the picture was that I held up to them. They most always responded in the correct sign. I then showed them the other side of the block and automatically the kids started listing off what they saw: boy, hair, baby, 'sign for cow', mouth open).

    Second came the blanket, and that was a winner! Opposed to what mothers and infants said/responded to it at the YMHA, these 3/4 year olds loved it and responded to the signs. Obviously it is because they are immersed in the language, but it is important to note nonetheless.

    The second class i sat in was taught by Judy and all students have Cochlear...

  • BOUNCE: baby sign products

    Communication, Industrial Design

    Board-03_177_

    BOUNCE promotes the popularity and success of Baby Sign as a means to integrate Sign Language and American Deaf Culture into the Mainstream. Through bounce, Deaf Culture ideals and language is both familiar and a must have for every parent.

    • Talk with your baby!
    • No more terrible twos!
    • Improves language skills!
    • Learn sign as early as 7 months

    BOUNCE provides products that incorporate deaf culture such as American Sign Language into toys that can be used throughout childhood. Not only does bounce provide cultural reinforcement but it is also a valuable learning tool.

    As a means to promote early development and establish a foundation for communication in children, baby sign is the most applicable. A child can learn to say he has a dirty diaper, or he wants more milk as early as 7 months. A goal of bounce is to make visual language/baby sign language more accessible by all parents, opening up the divide between two language bound worlds: Deaf Culture and Hearing Culture. As an affect, stigma associated with having Deaf children and the difficulties with learning a language, will be pacified and made less frustrating if the practice of teaching children sign language/baby sign, is widespread and popular.

  • Focus Group # 1

    Communication, Industrial Design

    User-test-01_177_

    Mommy and Me Gym (YMHA) 14th between First and Second Avenue Children Age: 10 month to 19 month

    Today was awesome and chaotic! It is the first time I conducted a focus group and there is a lot to be learned. Such as organization. But that wasn't a problem, everything ran very efficiently and I got a lot of feed back about two products (the BOUNCE Play Mat/Blanket and the BOUNCE Soft Building Blocks).

    The children are adorable and most of all they were drawn to the toys, they actually played with them. Which is the first task: are they approachable, do they keep children entertained? They did everything you could think of: throwing, rattling, chewing, juggling, hiding, rolling, shaking, etc.

    Parents were also excited and active. An average of 2 out every 3 mothers played with the toys and signed/tried to sign really well. Some need a little instruction as to how to say the word 'elephant' on account that they've never signed before but others were really responsive to the emotional signs such as happy. One mother went so far to develop her own signs, in a sense accenting her very own sign for happy which included happy faces, eyes, and framing her face with her hands. Her son was receptive of it as well.

    Second valuable comment was the imagery. Some parents (1 out of 4) were confused by the squishy/stubby hands of the characters and thus unsure of their hand posture. This was to be expected. Even though baby sign is more suggestive than American Sign Language, having the ...

"What is now proven, was once only imagin'd."

Contact Michael S Hoefler Jr
HOEFLER DESIGN

My Interests

  • Industrial Design
  • Environmental Design
  • Communication Design
  • Fashion Design
  • Audio/Visual Design