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User-initiated design for disabled children: teaching and learning in online diy/maker communities

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posted on 24.05.2021, 10:37 by Ben Le
A disabled child who requires an assistive device, like a wheelchair or prosthetics, often waits many months to use very expensive commercial devices that are less than ideal. However, as the popularity of DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Maker online communities increases, disabled children and their caregivers can instead take design back into their own control, by engaging in user-initiated design (UID). By learning from other DIY/Makers and their design tutorials, disabled children and their caregivers can custom make assistive devices at a fraction of the cost. What remains to be addressed are the barriers that prevent them from participating in these online communities; preliminary research has identified some barriers, including poor tutorial design and lack of perceived skill. Thus the purpose of this research paper was to further analyze popular online communities in order to make recommendation on how to increase disabled participation, further enabling them to practice UID.





Master of Arts


Early Childhood Studies

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type


Thesis Advisor

Jason Nolan