The Health Design Lab

 

I joined the Health Design Lab at Emily Carr University of Art and Design for the second portion of a project with the Pacific Autism Family Network. In the first year's research project (2015-2016) they held co-creation activities that revealed potential gaps in how information is currently being accessed and/or disseminated within the autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) community. The information synthesized through those workshops greatly informed the co-creation session we hosted (2016-2017). 

 

This year we ran a preliminary installation and a series of workshops in order to understand how individuals and family members and ASDs researchers are currently communicating with one another. 

 
 

Installation November 2016

 

At the opening of the Pacific Autism family Network in Vancouver, British Columbia we wanted to discover how the ASDs community accessed information and how they envisioned the future of the community. We asked two questions, the first was: What is your vision for ASDs in British Columbia? The second was: Where do you access ASDs research?  The installation was an informal way to reach out to stakeholders and to spark conversation and creativity as it concerns the future of the community.

 

The final take-away echoed the findings from the workshops hosted the year before, which are summarized in a report completed by the health design lab.  Simply put there was confusion about how to access credible research and services, concern about public perception of the disorder, funding issues, and a issues with individuals with ASDs transitioning to adulthood. 

 
 

Co-creation Workshops january 2017

Pin board created to map experiences

Pin board created to map experiences

Workshop

Workshop

Activity One - Journey Mapping

 

For the first activity we were interested in the current state of communication in the ASDs community. The goal was to discover gaps and opportunities in how families access autism research and how researchers disseminate it.

 

Through a table discussion, individuals (family members, those on the spectrum and researchers) mapped out with string and post-its their journey within ASDs research. 

 

 

Prepared interview questions

Prepared interview questions

Discussion

Discussion

Activity Two - Partner Interviews

The second activity was created to discuss the future state of communication. We had participants interview one another for 20 minutes (ideally a researcher was paired with a family member). Two sets of questions were created, a set for family members and a set for researchers. 

 

The main goal was to gain valuable insights from the stakeholders on how to bridge communication gaps. Following the interviews a 10 minute discussion was held with the entire group to share ideas and inform potential future design possibilities

 

Results

We are currently holding workshops in Metro-Vancouver and Northern British Columbia. Although we have not synthesized the results from the workshops, I can say that co-creation as a form of communication and catharsis bridged major gaps between the two communities. The sharing and empathy that was created as a result of the workshops was inspiring. We will conclude this project in April 2017. 


Stacie Schatz