I’m just beginning to catch up with myself again after the festive period and finally finish of some posts I’ve been meaning to do for ages!
One of the first things I did when I decided to get back onto the design horse, and begin writing this blog, was to fill out a Scope questionnaire I found online, which turned out to be an information gathering exercise for a potentially very exciting collaboration with Ikea! At the end of the questionnaire was a little box to fill in if you were interested in coming along to a focus group – yes please!
So, before the chaotic pre-Christmas period (and with the babysitting help of Twinkle’s lovely grandparents), I dug out my oyster card and took the train down to that London with all the commuters (including my husband who does it everyday so wasn’t quite as excited as me!)! Funny stepping back into the London rat race for the day, and just as glamorous as I remember as I disappeared underground, missed all the sights and Christmas displays and headed off up to Ikea Wembly.
The focus group was a small group of fellow parents with a range of experiences of children of different ages and a wide range of abilities/disabilities, organized by lovely group from Scope.
The collaboration has come about as Ikea are investigating the development of their product range, including products they would like to appeal to the special needs market as well as mainstream. I love this inclusive approach. So many things that are ‘special needs’ are actually just good products that would also suit younger children, older people, families etc, either as they are or with a bit of a tweak or perhaps with the addition of an accessory.
The focus group discussed the outcomes from the survey, which broadly fell into 3 categories: eating, playing, sleeping and the varying issues we all have around those themes, products that have helped usand products we felt are missing from the general market place. We all had a stroll around the store and picked out things we liked, or thought could be improved or adapted.
Ikea already have a pretty progressive approach to design and certainly our little family have numerous Ikea products which although are ‘mainstream’ fullfill our ‘special needs’.
Our 3 favourite Ikea products are:
Play Kitchen: This is fab as not only is it a stylish little piece of furniture at a very reasonable price, it also performs as a very handy prop for standing practice, with 3 different height adjustments to allow good standing positioning.
Spinning Egg chair: A big favourite in the sensory processing world for enabling vestibular stimulation, said to help with processing in various ways. This was Twinkle’s Christmas present from Santa!
High Chair: The Antilop is an amazingly simple, extremely affordable, easy to clean high chair which can be accessorized with a little inflatable cushion insert to give extra postural support to a younger baby, or an older baby with low tone! This was invaluable for us before we got a specialist postural support chair for Twinkle.
I know Ikea is a marmite place….I fall into the love it category! Functional, affordable and stylish furniture and accessories – what’s not to love? (Although I’m told the ‘ikea experience’ is not for everyone!) I really hope they carry this project forward as I think this inclusive approach is fantastic and will really allow families with special needs to access products more easily, affordably and that look good in the home, just like any other family.
PS. It may sound like it, but this is not a sponsored post!