“Hypotonia is a condition in which a person has decreased muscle tone. It is more common to see hypotonia in children than it is in adults, although children with the condition can have it their entire lives. A condition that equally affects males and females, hypotonia is becoming more common than it used to be. This is because the survival rate of those who are more likely to be born with a disorder that causes hypotonia is higher than it was in the past. It is common to see hypotonia in children who have disorders in which it is a symptom, such as central nervous system (CNS) disorders and neuromuscular disorders. The most common disorders in which hypotonia in children occur is cerebral palsy and Down syndrome, although other disorders that can cause the condition include muscular dystrophy,Prader-Willi syndrome, and Tay-Sachs disease”
Hypotonia is a condition that affects the physical development of young children and makes even the most minute task incredibly difficult for them to accomplish. It renders them highly immobile and dependent on others at the prime time in their life where they should be developing both mentally and physically. Symptoms such as low muscle strength and lack of coordination affect the way that they interact with the environment, people and objects that surround them at all times. Low muscle tone weakness can become more burdensome as the children develop and will continue to lessen their ability to do even the most menial tasks on their own.
This thesis project will utilize the ability of design to aid in the physical struggles associated with hypotonia and to find a solution to help children suffering from this disorder become more independent. Extensive research into hypotonia will reveal all of the developmental challenges that these children suffer from, which will then be used to find a way for the design around them to be catered toward their needs. A solution will be sought out in which the products that children with hypotonia interact with in their surrounding environment will help make their daily lives easier and positively contribute to a steadier physical development process.
I will be working with children, parents, and occupational therapists to strengthen my research to learn more about the problems associated with hypotonia firsthand in order to enhance the overall outcome. This will allow me to later focus on the design of either toys, products, furniture or spaces in which children with hypotonia will interact with. The outcome of this project is to show the ability that design has to have an immense impact on their lives for the better, both in the short-term and the long-term.