Textiles student creates learning aids to donate to local Autism charity

Third year Textiles student, Abbey Hobbs, has used her creative talents to design and create sensory learning aids to donate to her local charity, TRACKS Autism.

Having set up her small business during the first lockdown of 2020, Foxymoron Design, and feeling inspired after completing an online Fashion Design Diploma course in between her placements, Abbey started to work on a charity-based project aiming to raise awareness of the struggles that young children with autism might face during lockdown.

Concerned with how those with disabilities have been affected by the coronavirus restrictions, and where communication and social interaction is already challenging, Abbey has designed and created pillows in the shape of a fox made from different textured materials, as well as a variety of fidget toy features.

The pillow was designed as a fox so that it was appealing to young children and she also created her own pattern for the design with sensory features. Abbey wanted to design her own product, unique to her own brand, that could later be donated to a charity who would really benefit from it.

Abbey contacted her local charity, TRACKS Autism, who run daily play sessions at their learning centre for young children with autism. TRACKS Autism are an independent charity who are not able to receive funding from the Local Education Authority and so rely on community fundraising and donations.

The charity was excited about the project and invited Abbey to visit them to meet staff and share her fox pillows with the children, who were intrigued by the sensory learning aids.

Abbey explains that:

“The staff really approved of my choice of materials, saying that they were very soft and would be really comforting for the children. A couple of the staff who have children with similar disabilities enquired about whether I intended to make more, claiming that they would appeal to other parents.

I would love to make more for those who need it. I wanted to create something that would contribute to a young child’s well-being, so I have been grateful for this opportunity to make a difference.”

Abbey is going to continue releasing more collections throughout the year, designing her own sustainable products that are intended to help improve wellbeing and make others smile.

Follow Abbey on social media: @f_oxymoron.design