The pre-school age between 2 and 5 is a critical time for children’s early learning and development. They are becoming more and more independent from their parents, they can already do a lot of things on their own, and so they start discovering the world around them, engaging with other kids of their age, gaining self-confidence by playing and participating in active pursuits.
Unfortunately, many of these crucial activities that ensure physical and cognitive development are challenging and often not accessible for kids with physical disabilities. They are challenged to get the same life experiences as their able-bodied peers; and even though they have no cognitive disability, their learning and development can be still negatively impacted. Additionally, kids with disabilities are often treated as ‘special’ and receive special services in special settings with special caregivers who protect them, often separating them from other kids. Besides kids with disabilities are often seen as different: indeed, even when it comes to height, they are on a different eye level because of a wheelchair or other mobility devices. This inability to freely interact with peers and explore the world on their own can result in a gap in emotional and intellectual development.
Current mobility solutions, like special devices, chairs, etc., have a very high cost and a short duration of use, as young children outgrow them very fast. Institutional solutions are often about meeting the minimum requirements of mandated “accessible” buildings and facilities and are not outcome-oriented for the child’s development.
Parents of disabled kids believe that the child’s level of self-directed mobility or the ability to navigate the world has a huge impact on his ability to attain optimum life experiences and independence. Our sponsor, a research and innovation company, invites you to think of new mobility solutions that will enable kids with mobility disabilities to enjoy the physical interactions with their peers and help navigate the world around them. Can you help?
Create a new mobility service that enhances the independent mobility of mobility-disabled preschool children to take on challenging experiences that help them to develop a sense of self-reward in peer-to-peer interactions.
- #1 Prize €4,000
- #2 Prize €1,500
- #3 Prize €500