*Rouja Pakiman, *Lucie Richter
California College of the Arts
Oral Presentation – Practice Track
Saturday, Sept 29, 2012: 12:13 PM – 12:33 PM – LK130

*Presenting Speakers


Children who suffer from asthma and their parents often have difficulties adhering to routine nebulizer treatments that are a necessary part of managing the child’s symptoms. Children cannot self-manage and must rely on their parents for care resulting in a new and stressful dimension to the parent-child relationship.

At the outset of the journey for families with asthmatic children, parents often feel anxious, unsure, and overwhelmed with all the new information about their child’s condition. Over time and especially when the child begins to resist the nebulizer treatments, the parents express feeling tired, worn out, and even frustrated. Despite this, of course, they still want to provide good care for their child. However, from the child’s perspective, the parents appear forceful, and this often leads to a strained relationship between the child and their parents.

“He kept pushing back the mask… wouldn’t let us put it on. We still hold the mask and he still pushes back” —Mother of a 4-year-old boy

Design has the power to turn these daily struggles into nurturing moments for both parents and children and to achieve maximum benefits of the nebulizer treatment without putting the relationship at risk.

To understand the families’ attitude towards asthma, eight technology-savvy families with at least one child between the ages of 5- and 11-years-old diagnosed with asthma participated in the qualitative research. Remote participants submitted images of in-home treatment and shared their stories about adherence challenges over the phone and local families participated in research sessions in their homes. Ethnographic research allowed us to gain deep understanding of adherence challenges around nebulizer treatments done in the home. Synthesizing the findings into a design framework and design principles inspired the development of Magic Mask, an interactive storybook prototype.

We extended on IDEO’s adherence loop developed by Klein, Wustrack and Schwartz (2006) to propose a framework for pediatric adherence that invites parents to participate in the treatment with their child, suggests the child becomes aware of his/her condition, and the child agrees to do the treatments.

Magic Mask uses augmented reality technology to create and facilitate a new relationship between the child and the nebulizer breathing mask. By placing a specific marker on the mask, it is now like a magic wand andgives the child special powers. During their nebulizer treatment and while the child holds a digital tablet, the mask triggers various graphics in the story on the screen. The parent can also now directly participate with the treatment session by adding to the content of the story. Thus, a previously dreaded nebulizer treatment session is reshaped into nurturing family storytelling time.

We realize Magic Mask is not the silver bullet for adherence for children with asthma; however, it addresses adherence challenges to the nebulizer treatment. As a result of a few testings with children and parents and after multiple iterations, we recognized the need to convert the local desktop prototype to function online allowing for greater accessibility. Given the positive feedback from parents and children, Magic Mask iscontinuing to be developed, and we are exploring opportunities for a viable, scalable business.

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