Disrupting Design

Crafty cardboard design activism for special needs children

Ryerson professor Jason Nolan wants to build a world where children with special needs can play and learn in an environment that helps them be more independent.

'People with disabilities have to hack just to survive': Professor combines aesthetics and ethics

CBC's Matt Galloway explores disruptive Canadian design. (CBC)

"We're fixing the environment, not the individual."

Ryerson University professor of Early Childhood Studies Jason Nolan wants to build a world where children with special needs can play and learn in an environment that helps them be more independent.

Using simple materials such as cardboard, these designs can be made by anyone, anywhere, at any time. 

There's an under-serviced community, at-risk communities, special needs communities, just non-rich, western communities that don't have a chance to see themselves as part of design.- Jason Nolan, Ryerson University professor of Early Childhood Studies

For Professor Nolan, who is autistic himself, it's vital for those with special needs to build their world.

"The slogan of the autistic self-advocacy community is, 'Nothing about us, without us,' which means we've got to be involved," he says. "We want support for our special needs. We have to make sure people understand what our needs are and help us find ways to solve them." 

Disrupting Design celebrates ingenious Canadian designers who are transforming their lives, where they live and the world. Watch Disrupting Design online now.

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