In the News: Occupational Therapy and Design Students Work Together on Toy Designs for Kids with Disabilities

ot intThomas Jefferson University Occupational Therapy (OT) students and University of the Arts Industrial Design students recently presented prototypes of toys specially designed for children with physical, mental or cognitive disabilities. The students were broken into 12 teams and given a fictional narrative about a child. They were given three weeks to design and create toy prototypes for their young clients, culminating in a “Shark Tank” style presentation to a panel of judges from both universities.

Thomas Jefferson University OT student Bess Lender’s group designed a jet pack that an 8-year-old boy with muscular dystrophy can use in his parents’ in-ground pool. She told KYW, “Obviously, we thought safety [and] floatation automatically but we wanted it to be something that an 8-year-old boy wouldn’t be embarrassed to use.”

Another group’s design was a chair for a child with cerebral palsy to use to play interactive video games. The group said their design could be used by any child, no matter their abilities.

This is the fourth year that University of the Arts and Thomas Jefferson University have worked together on collaborative projects. Their collective mission was to draw on each other’s respective educational backgrounds in order to view their disciplines in a new light. 6ABC and Fox 29 also covered the students’ presentations on February 25th.

Jefferson’s Occupational Therapy program was recently ranked sixth in the nation by US News & World Report. Learn more about the program.

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