According to the Centers for Disease Control in the United States, 1 in 88 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Many of these children are challenged in their learning opportunities due to the current lack of engaging educational tools and interactive environments. As educators prepare to integrate these children into our society, they recognize that differential learning experiences are key to this group's life successes.
It is with a call to action that Easter Seals Southwest Florida presents this year’s DesignSense challenge to develop a STEM-focused learning tool for children and young adults on the spectrum. STEM stands for “Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.” We believe that the STEM focus is an integral and inspiring element that can move forward children’s learning potential. We believe that individuals with autism can excel in these very important subjects that may lead them down the road to success.
Therefore, the purpose of DesignSense is to explore how a collaboration of designers and educators can encourage STEM learning potential with creative tools that are specifically designed to enhance and strengthen the learning of these subjects for children and young adults with autism.
The criteria for an award-winning design are:
To expose children to Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics curricula in informal settings
To provide designs to advance Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics learning
To encourage with engaging design an interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.