Systems Diagrams: Stimming

What are the systems surrounding stimming?

When thinking about stimming, is was easy to think of the many systems that exist. The question was where to place each system in my visual representation. My first instinct was placing the impacted system, the individual, at the center. Depending on the severity of the individual’s condition, the person may or may not be aware of any of the surrounding system. Regardless, it felt wrong not to place the individual as a focal point. This is a topic about acceptance and equal opportunity for the individual. For the first draft, I wanted to communicate that these are systems embedded in ASC individuals’ lives. They are constantly being bombarded with societal stigmas, public service challenges, and physical disabilties. A representation of all the surrounding  systems pointing into the individual felt sound. Here’s my first draft: Then I took a step back. I felt this depiction suggests a passive individual in which the systems are feeding into the individual. The relationship between the impaired individual and the surrounding systems are much more complicated. The systems overwhelmingly interact each other. Instead of disjointed bubbles, I envisioned a soup— a hodgpodge of overlapping systems with one constant focal point: the individual. Here’s my next draft:

Although there is still a sense of boundary and delineation between the systems, it’s just a way to visually organize integrated pieces. Any of these systems, bubbles, can be placed anywhere and overlap with each other. The crucial aspect that cannot be replaced is that each system bubble overlaps with the individual at the center. I wanted to take the individual’s perspective. Here is another visual representation of my topic, this time using Lego:

Plastic Wrap: The Individual
Red: Family
Yellow: Early Education
Green: Social Interactions
Blue: Funding
White: Adulthood 
Grey: A Meaningful Life

  This is a more tiered approach to the systems at play. It’s a journey to the center, a meaningful life. The plastic wrap surrounding the tiers represents the individual. If one tier doesn’t provide the necessary support, the is suffocated. If the tiers fall into place, the individual frees themselves from the plastic wrap. Each tier, however, is fluid, and somewhat dependent on each other. I wanted the first layer, family (red), to be the tallest and biggest boundary. Having an emotionally supportive family is an essential foundation. Every special-needs child is enititled to education and resources. This flows smoothly into social circles; the peers that surround the child’s development. As the child grows older, the largest barier is funding (honestly, I shouldve made this barier taller). Many children with autism “fall off the service cliff,” due to lack of funding and being stripped of resource entitlement. Next is adulthood. There’s few opportunities for those with autism as they grow older. If each barrier falls into place, I believe those with autism can lead a positive, fulfilling life. 

I discovered that it’s nearly impossible to visually represent the systems at play. Any map is a simiplificaiton that will prioritize interactions and systems over others. All systems need to have a perspective. The perspective I am mapping is from the individual. Had I started with education, it would change the way I visually represent the interactions within the system. 

Inspo Guides:

Vintage science diagrams,

Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Animal Crossing Museum Guide

Mimicking Mundane New York Transportaion Guides

Lonely planet

Theme Park Map

Theme Park Guide
Another One

Boy scout handbooks

Survival guides 

Cargo Collective 2017 — Frogtown, Los Angeles