The BU Festival of Design and Innovation is an opportunity for students to showcase their innovative product designs. Of the 170+ products on show, many had been designed by students with disabilities or learning differences.
“What I find is that when you first come to University it is very daunting and I have always found loads of work tough to deal with.”
Dominic felt himself to be “almost lucky” to be dyslexic at Bournemouth University as he has had the help he needed to get his “head round stuff” for the last four years; that “ALS have always been a shoulder to lean on.”
“Having dyslexia means that I am very disorganised and you can be knocked back for that and you feel bad if you miss things. ALS understands where I am going to go wrong. If I need any help whatsoever they are always there.”
Dominic has had quite a lot of interest in his Gel Dispenser, especially from companies who deal with cosmetics, which he feels is a very good route to take.
He added: “I’m not going to be chucked out with a bag over my shoulder – I actually have something to do with myself.”
He was excited at the prospect of working in industry: “In design, whatever the brief, whether it be cosmetics or cars, you have to become an expert straight away so it’s never mundane, and you get to change to something else after a few months… Design opens the doors to many other opportunities.”
“I wanted to do something that helped people.”
Attending a training course for teaching assistants working with visually impaired children, gave Rebecca an idea of the day-to-day problems that children with visual impairments experience at home and in school.
Rebecca received valuable advice, direction and on-going evaluation from several specialists in her chosen field of interest. She learned that tracking is a key skill for children as they learn Braille, so having researched the market, Rebecca’s aim was to design a product that helped children to develop the skills they would need in order to learn to read and write Braille, and which was affordable for families and schools.
Rebecca has had an offer of help in developing The Braille Bee from one of the specialists she has worked with, but is also very interested in pursuing a career in visual merchandising.
One of the other young designers had this to say about her experience of studying at Bournemouth and her wish for the future:
“The best experience has been learning the full design process from the initial concept and how to develop this into a final product; how to choose the correct materials and what to consider during the process.”
“I hope to get a design-related job where I can learn more on the job and put what I have learned at Bournemouth into practice. On placement I experienced different aspects of design. I would like a job where I could focus on what something I enjoy doing.”
We wish all the students the very best of luck for the future.