• Thesis Topic

    Community, Environmental Design

    My two possible areas for thesis project are autism and dementia. As the population of elderly has been increased each year and the rate of getting dementia gets higher, dementia becomes one of the biggest global medical issues. Despite the efforts of doctors and researchers to find a way to treat the illness, it is not yet found. I see dementia as two types: early on-set and already struggles with the illness. Within these topics, I want to specifically focus on the early on-sets. Currently, there are not so many effective products for dementia; there are just some activities, games, and food recipes that are believed to be good for treating dementia. Therefore, I want to come up with something that could help people to prepare and to delay the period of getting dementia. On the other hand, autism is a disorder you get when you are born, and the symptom of autism appears in first 3 years of life that affects the normal development of social and communication skills. Autism is my second desired topic to discuss because I believe all humans are same even they have disability or not. A kid with autism pretends to play, have social interactions with others. Also they have nonverbal communication and lose language or social skills they already gained before. There are not many toys for children with autism to improve in their motor skills, emotional regulation, language and communication, social skills, thinking and reasoning, planning and sequencing, and adapting the environment around them. There are not many toys designed specifically designed for autistic. Therefore, I want to design a toy that is specialized for children with disability, autism. I chose dementia over autism because dementia is which can happen to everyone when they reach certain age. So I’d like to focus on dementia on early stage that could help community.

  • Hi Sumin, I was looking through your blog posts. I see you want to go into either Autism or Dementia. I think the Dementia direction has some very interesting areas to explore. In addition Autism have some overlap. Both have an area of treatment where it is focusing the mind or keeping the mind active. Most basic recommendations for helping prevent or stave off dementia is by keeping the mind active. In what could be a nice twist of irony, something like video games that old people typically hate could maybe help them "exercise their mind". Although video games don't exercise the body (DDR and Wii Fit aside) they are certainly are a workout for the mind. Numerous studies have show that video games significantly increase hand eye cordination, reaction time, and problem solving. Furthermore, I know I have seen some articles of retirement homes using the Wii for entertainment for seniors. Anyway those are just some thoughts I had when reading your posts.

    Nasal spray could cure Alzheimer - http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/1240544/nasalspraymaytreatalzheimers/index.html

    Video game benefits - http://www.usatoday.com/tech/gaming/2008-08-18-video-games-learning_N.htm

    Old people Wii'ing something other than their Depends - http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-070216nintendo,0,2755896.story

  • Hey SuMin, I was also wondering which direction you were thinking of going in. From a few of your other blog posts it seems like you may be leaning toward dementia, but I think Anthony's suggestion of incorporating the two ideas together is great. After speaking to a few people that have experienced working with autistic individuals, concentration seems to be a big issue. People mentioned that it is very difficult to get an autistic person to focus and engage, especially when it is in a larger setting (like a classroom). Maybe you could approach the project with the problem of creating something for both conditions, but in the end have it more geared toward one. My hesitation with designing a product for both conditions is present because they involve keeping the brain active for very different reasons (one to keep focus/attention, and one to stimulate memory). I look forward to seeing which direction you end up going with the project!

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