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Darwen student creates toy to help dyslexic children
9:00am Thursday 12th July 2012 in News
A BUDDING inventor with dyslexia has created a new toy to help children learn to read and write.
Laura Young, from Darwen, designed and made the Umpees prototype as part of her product design degree because she found it hard to learn English in school.
The 21-year-old said the handheld toy can either take pictures and record footage or record sounds which then can be played back or printed.
The University of Central Lancashire student said the Umpees, which is based around the idea of you and me playtimes, encourages children to learn on the move and share their experiences with their parents.
She said children can copy, write down or retell what has happened, which helps them to learn and develop their language skills.
Umpees are made of three detachable parts, the top, middle and bottom - like a Mr Potato Head, which children can also mix and match to create their own toys.
Laura now intends to pitch her design to industry and she will be displaying her design at a design show in London.
Laura, a former St Wilfrid’s CofE High School pupil, said: “I wanted to design a product to combine education and play using modern technology.
“With a learning disability, dyslexia, myself I wanted to help children learn.
“The Umpees characters encourage children to use their imagination by recording video and sound to capture things that interest them and they can also be used as an MP3 player for children to learn songs or phrases as they listen and repeat back.
“Any content recorded onto the Umpees can be downloaded onto a computer so that children can share their work with family and friends.”
Malcolm McVicar, vice-chancellor of the university, said: “The continual stream of creative talent which flows from our university is truly staggering and I’m delighted that we celebrate, highlight and share this work with the local community at the public view of our annual degree show.”
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