Week 1

Welcome to the Prism development blog! Each week, we’ll be posting some behind-the-scenes looks into what we’ve been up to throughout the development process. During this first week, our team met with our clients at Beech Bottom Primary School in Brooke County, West Virginia, to talk about what they hoped to achieve from this project.

The team discussing ideas with staff members at Beech Bottom Primary.

From our discussions, we learned that children at Beech Bottom (and presumably at schools across the country) are somewhat mystified by their autistic peers. Despite attempts at traditional sensitivity training, the neurotypical children have difficulty understanding why their classmates on the autism spectrum will exhibit certain behaviors that, on the surface, appear unusual or disturbing. This will, unfortunately, frequently lead to bullying and a pervasive lack of empathy.

It became clear then, that Prism needs to be about designing an experience that will allow neurotypical children to better empathize with their peers on the spectrum, which is actually how during this first week we derived the project’s name. Much how like in optics a prism will refract a source of light and essentially illuminate the full spectrum of colors, so too will our project for autism. Working specifically with 3rd and 4th grade students in mind, we will design an interactive experience (platform/specific technology yet unknown) that will hopefully promote meaningful change in the ways that these children understand and interact with their autistic classmates.

This first week was all about getting acquainted and understanding our overarching goals. Next week we’ll start to get into the nitty-gritty as we delve into research and start playing around with some of our cool tech.

The playground at Beech Bottom Primary, one of the main centers of social interaction.