HOW MIGHT WE CREATE A WELCOME SERVICE FOR NEW RESIDENTS WITH DISABILITIES?
The City of Chicago aims to be a welcoming home for everyone. With particularly high barriers and challenges, it is difficult for new residents with disabilities to feel welcomed into this greater community.
Through design research and iterative testing, we were able to deliver a digital platform that connects and empowers residents with disabilities to access the resources available to them and illuminate a pathway for them to find success.
Through meeting with various residents with disabilities and understanding their current journey, we were able to find similarities among many people: loneliness, isolation, and scattered information.
Whether they were adults in wheelchairs having difficulty using the trains, or students with autism looking for independent living options for the first time, or parents with students with disabilities, they all shared these same commonalities. This is why we decided to design a service which would compile many informational resources in one centralized place, and create a sense of community among this population to decrease feelings of loneliness and isolation.
For the focus of this 10 week project, we narrowed in and dove deep around problem solving for parents of students with disabilities.
After brainstorming, prototyping, and testing a variety of ideas to help address these problems with schools, parents, government service providers, and students, our team created the MOPD hub. This digital platform allows for parents of students with disabilities to connect with city services and each other.
The News Feed allows parents to post and respond to questions they have about obtaining an Individualized Education Plan, rides to school, or anything else they want in a safe, secure space available only to other parents.
The Map allows parents to view every school in Chicago that offers special education services. They can also see crowdsourced information about these schools posted by other parents. Additionally, they can view highlighted "safe routes" marked by other parents.
The Resources page allows parents to quickly and conveniently view all of the services available to them. Other parents can also post resources that they have found and want to share with others.
The Groups tab allows for parents to join smaller groups within the platform to keep in touch with one another. When using this, they can begin to develop a stronger sense of community even when they are unable to get across the city to be physically on campus.
In the near future, our goal is to improve a sense of community among parents of students with disabilities, and make accessing resources from the city easy and convenient.
Looking into the future, we would like to increase transparency around education between parents and schools. Through transparency, parents will be able to understand the status of their IEP and will as a result feel less lost in the process.
Our ultimate goal is to align the motivations and goals between parents and schools. With everyone helping each other on the same team, we can form inclusive and collaborative relationships rather than combative.