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CONTRIBUTORS Michael Brown Jane Burnett Catalina Castello Dave Collier Sandy Kellman Robbie Snowden Kris Ewans

Funded by Midlothian Council and the Scottish Government Autism Innovation and Improvement Fund. Supported by Inspiring Scotland.


This book is for anyone working with Colin. It was developed by Artlink and staff supporting Colin from the Action Group. We wanted to find activity which appealed to Colin that could be developed by anyone working with him. Staff described the things he likes doing such as: “He likes the noise and action of ripping Velcro” “He likes different kinds of plastic bottles, especially the ones where he can make noise on the ridges with his finger” “He likes soft squidgy materials that that can be squashed” The Action Group team worked with Artlink artist Lauren Gault. Like Colin, she is interested in the feel and look of certain materials like gels or plastics. Lauren and the team became product engineers, adapting a range of domestic and affordable materials with Colin’s preferences in mind. This book shows you which of these objects were most appealing to Colin. This is only the beginning; anyone new to the team is positively encouraged to expand on where we left off. Try new designs, explore new materials – Colin will be your guide! So, let your imagination run wild and create something you think he’d like. If you aren’t sure where to begin, we’ve given you a few starting points...


Colin loves squishing and squeezing. You can make squeezable objects using freezer bags, clear bottles, water balloons, shower gels, oil and water with food colouring. The list is endless! There are hundreds of combinations to try involving different textures, sizes and materials for Colin to squeeeeze! Try making a few to see what Colin’s favourite is using different types of bags and bottles … there is strong tape in the cupboard to make them ‘Colinproof!’


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Colin loves shaking and tapping things. Many objects can be made and adapted for Colin – sealed drawers with bells, large bags with paper to rustle, hollow bottles with objects inside... Try adapting some new hollow objects for Colin and see how many variations can be made by changing what’s inside. How can you use them inside and outside? What objects make different sounds?


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Colin loves the sound and feeling of pulling apart velcro. You can use velcro strips to adapt objects Colin already likes, incorporate into parts of his routine or adapt parts of his environment! You can attach the velcro onto handleable toys, parts of his seating ... the sky is the limit! Velcro could also be incorporated into cognitive games or even his environment outside, floor, walls, storage solutions ... Try using velcro to make something new or adapt something Colin already loves ‌ Can you use velcro somewhere permanently in Colin’s space?


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Colin loves pulling elasticated parts which spring back! You can incorporate elasticated pieces by weaving in brightly coloured bands to objects, using bungee cords stretched across furniture or parts of the room, cutting up obejects into smaller parts for Colin to rummage through‌ Try adding add these stretchy elements or textures into Colin environment in new ways e.g. beside his sofa, on his lap ... Can you make an object with pinging parts?


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Colin likes being both inside and outside. You can use objects and materials to adapt where he loves into temporary new spaces for example taking his sensory drawer outside, using different fabrics and textures on his furniture and using reflective mirror and lights to make new spaces … Try using different materials or lights to make temporary changes to Colin’s space … You can also use the project from the Artlink room to make light shows using Colin’s iPad …


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Colin loves his bench outside. Sometimes he just wants his own space but there are ways you can change his outdoor environment in temporary ways ‌ Try using mobiles, his cut out shapes, balloons to make the outdoors that bit different! Use the ground, the trees, e.g. can you make paths, objects that sound in the wind, or take some of the objects he uses inside outside?


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When it’s darker outside or you make Colin’s room darker you can engage Colin with objects which light up e.g. directing the projector beam onto a wall, covering part of his space in reflective materials or borrowing the light box to use objects with … You can also use the plug-in disco lights to adjust the space or create new atmospheres with light and Colin’s favourite music. Try using light in new ways each days to change to the mood of the room into a music disco or a more relaxing, sensory environment. You can project through some of Colin’s liquid-filled objects to create exciting effects also!


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Colin loves looking at bubbles or having bubbles blown with him. You can make really interesting bubble patterns by blowing into a bottle with oil and water (coloured with food colouring) or using bubble mixture in bowls and and with a small fish tank pump Colin has. Try making bubbles as a game or thinking about how they can be used outdoors ...


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Colin and Danny love objects which they can reach up and touch. You can make a variety of mobiles using objects like hangers, hanging baskets, clothes rails ... The objects could also be used outside and hang in the wind ... Try making a variety of mobiles using reflective materials or materials which generate sound when they move for different inside and outside variations ...


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GENERAL notes


Profile for Artlink Edinburgh and the Lothians

Colin's Collection - designing objects of sensory interest  

Colin's Collection was a collaboration between support staff of the Action Group with Artlink, where we worked as a team to design objects o...

Colin's Collection - designing objects of sensory interest  

Colin's Collection was a collaboration between support staff of the Action Group with Artlink, where we worked as a team to design objects o...

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