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Extraordinary Candles

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Abstract

Our client, Bob, is a man living with autism spectrum disorder. Autism is a broad term used to describe a neurological development disorder characterized by poor communication skills and repetitive behavior. Bob displays several symptoms characteristic of high functioning autism, including a short attention span and difficulties with fine motor skills.

Bob is employed as a candle maker at Extraordinary Ventures in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. His current method to create these candles requires assistance from his job coach because he is easily distracted and produces candles that do not meet specifications. Our goal was to help the client make quality candles with a high rate of success.

We created a set of devices that allows our client to make candles independently, and improves the consistency and quality of the candles. These consist of four different devices, each of which addresses a certain need identified in the needs assessment. The first device allows the client to consistently put the same volume of wax in each candle holder. The second device makes the process safer by protecting the client from splashing wax with a barrier. The third device fits the candle holder and allows the client to put the wicks in the correct location. The final device then helps the client fix the wicks in the correct position, using visual cues and clips. These devices maintain the simplicity of the current process, but also solve the major problems and safety concerns of the old process.

Further Information

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