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There are approximately 70,000-100,000 people living in America that are diagnosed as deaf-blind. Since children with deaf-blindness are an extreme minority in the US, research, toys and technological advancements for these children get overlooked. As a result, the developmental processes of children with deaf-blindness are delayed by several years, compared to normal children, due to the lack of resources available to encourage learning. According to Virginia’s Department of Education standards of learning for preschoolers, development physically, mathematically,of environmental awareness and of a sense of self are core requirements for Kindergarten. Therefore, there is a need for a toy that will provide stimulation to develop physical, social, and cognitive progression to keep children with deaf-blindness on a normal learning curve.

Our design consists of components each of which stimulate one of the development goals. The first component is a chair that promotes proper posture. The second component is a colored and vibrating drum game to stimulate mathematical development through pattern recognition. The third component is a Braille exposure game to stimulate literacy development, by associating a Braille word with an object or concept. The fourth component is an apparatus that can be placed over the chair that contains dangling objects where the child can reach out to explore their surrounding environment. Under the supervision and interaction of a parent/guardian, the child will develop socially through human interaction and feedback suggested in the provided instruction manual.

Our team has been conducting research online and consulting professionals that have worked, or are currently working, in the deaf-blind field; therefore we gathered information on how children with deaf-blindness typically react to certain stimuli and various developmental concerns, to aid with the design of the toy components. With this foundation, our group drafted a variety of design concepts. We weighed out the positives, negatives, and overall efficiency of each concept which lead us to produce our final design. Then we presented our final design to our faculty advisor, perfect our idea and move forward with materials selection. Our next step in the design process is to test the efficiency of different materials and methods that we selected for the stimulatory components through experimentation and computation of engineering principles behind the design. Unfortunately our group encountered a problem in the design process, we are behind in the construction of the chair components due to the amount of time it took to complete the machine shop class. Once our testing is completed, we will begin to construct and complete the full prototype of our product.

Publication Date



biomedical engineering, deaf-blindness


Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering | Engineering

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Dianne Pawluk

VCU Capstone Design Expo Posters


© The Author(s)

Date of Submission

July 2015

Toy for Preschoolers with Deaf-Blindness