David, Down Syndrome and Design
People with intellectual needs such as Down syndrome are often no stranger to social stigma. Such a stigma can act as a ceiling which limits their potential. It is important for these individuals to not only be encouraged to achieve, but also given the opportunity to show what they can do. Scott Newland believes design can and must play a larger role in enabling these opportunities. Scott’s work was inspired by David, a close friend with Down Syndrome. He observed how David’s environment and social network, while at times enabling, was in other ways disabling him towards leading an independent life. He chose to address this issue of independence by approaching it from two directions, which culminated in the design of a mentoring platform and a bicycle: one intellectual, the other physical; one digital, the other tangible; one social, the other individual. Both empowering.