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Technology and care combine forces to stimulate development of children

From a ball that actively invites sick children to move to a gumball machine with family activities. More than twelve designs are the special and promising result of collaboration between doctors and designers. For four years, doctors from the Princess Máxima Center for pediatric oncology and TU Delft designers worked together in the project ‘Meedoen= Groeien!’.

Marco Rozendaal, researcher at TU Delft and project leader of 'Meedoen = Groeien!': "In close cooperation with patients, family, therapists, oncologists and nursing staff, we started designing both the physical and psychosocial development of children. These prototypes have been extensively tested in families with children undergoing treatment for cancer. Families who have used the products emphasize the importance of the stimulating effect that the designs have. For example, a father and mother indicate while the child plays with the designs: "We also have a ball at home, and she also plays with that, but this challenges a lot more to do something with it. The toys in a hospital are more static; puzzles and crafts for example. These types of designs do give immediate movement and energy. "

Development-oriented care

The collaboration between the various disciplines, care, design and technology, within 'Meedoen = Groeien!', Has produced exceptional results. "Encouraging children with cancer to move, to play, is very important," says Hanneke de Ridder, director of development-oriented care and culture at the Princess Máxima Center. "Not only as a distraction but precisely because it contributes to their development, despite the heavy treatment that the child has to undergo." One of the products that are already in use at the Máxima Center are the so-called Stickz,  a sort of plastic branches that children can enjoy by dragging them around and building with them (see picture).

The project 'Meedoen = Groeien!' was financially made possible by the VriendenLoterij. With the developed products, the organizations want to avoid the backlog that long-term sick children incur in their physical and / or psychosocial development. At the end of November 2018, the project concluded with a special final symposium.