Friday, November 25, 2016

Mathew Van Noten

The idea I decided to run with for my design sprint was; Integrating the Neurologically Diverse (ND) as well as changing the social stigma around their mistreatment. Neurologically diverse refers to Neurodiversity, which Google defines as:
Neurodiversity is a concept where neurological differences are to be recognised and respected as any other human variation. These differences can include those labelled with Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Dyscalculia, Autistic Spectrum, Tourette Syndrome, and many others.”

My idea would help to integrate the ND better into society and the working world, as well as changing the stigma and trying to eliminate any potential or current mistreatment. The idea I had was that there would be a separate school for the ND to go to that would focus on their strengths and help to develop them to become a positive addition to the workforce. That in itself would help to integrate the ND into society because it would give them an income and allow them to be self-sustainable (To an extent, I realise that some individuals may need more assistance or help than others but I have no doubt that having a career would help with their self-sufficiency). More importantly, I think that having a career would give them a Defined “purpose”, not to imply that they have no purpose otherwise but I think having a career helps anyone strive for achievement and be intrinsically motivated to improve and be productive.
I went through the 5 stages of the design sprint activity which altered and improved my original idea.

The 5 Stages of the design sprint and how my idea evolved throughout

During the empathy phase, I asked my peers to help me in learning about my target audience. I asked them to try and put themselves in the shoes of the ND and see what they would want and need from me. Although this was hard to do because many people have a difficult time perceiving how a neurologically diverse person lives and what they may encounter. (except for the person who lives with the condition). We did our best job and I learned a lot, which helped me in refining my idea. One of the major things I learned in the empathy phase was social inclusion, and how important it is for the individual to not be isolated from their peers. I think this can lead to undeveloped social behaviour and it creates a gap between the individual and their peers. I think by integrating the ND with the rest of the social population allows them to learn the social skills it takes to be successful in life. I think today we do a poor job of integrating people with these conditions and somewhat alienate them.

I redefined my idea after I finished the empathy stage, I thought that the best way to integrate  the ND while still focusing on developing their strengths was to have them enrolled in a normal school and instead of taking all “special ed” classes the student could spend time one on one with an educator to focus on the areas they need to develop or further develop their strengths.

This step was a challenge, although I think that this is a crucial underused step. In this one
I was asked to come up with 8 different solutions to my problem, I was given 45 seconds to think about each before writing it down. There were no restraints, it could be as ridiculous as you want. This stage forces you to come up with unique solutions to your problem, this means it really lets the ideas flow and forces you to innovate. This activity really allowed me to broaden my horizons around the topic and motivated me to be creative in the way I approach the topic.

In this stage I wrote an outline to how I would solve my problem, It varied slightly from my original plan, in that instead of having the school isolate a student with one-on-one teaching, I thought it would be best to have a small group of students working on similar tasks. With this approach, we could also have a peer helping to facilitate the discussion and project this would help strengthen the ties the students have with each other school-wide. This stage also allowed me to use my peer feedback to further improve my design. I got many insightful comments some of which I thought were great ideas, and am currently working to implement.

We have yet to test this idea.