During our conversation she came up with a couple of ideas of product I could produce:
"Every patient who has difficulty communicating (I.e deaf, had a stroke, elderly, dementia etc) has a pack of cards with pictures on for things they need/want on the ward but can't necessarily ask for them. Like a card for food, toilet etc etc."
"There's quite a lot of communication aids around though like something called PECS which you use to build up sentences with pictures/symbols and talking mats are used by people who have had a stroke which has columns for things a person does/doesn't like and you put the pictures underneath."
"For autistic people they may benefit from different textures!"
Since then we have kept in touch and spoken more and more about this brief. Emma thought a lot about the last idea she had suggested, relating back to autistic people benefiting from different textures. She told me during a phone call that when she has worked with patients who have autism in the past they love certain properties of the toys that they play with. For example, if they play with a car toy they don't really think about what it is they are playing with necessarily, but they may be fascinated with the wheels and how they constantly spin them round and round.
With this in mind, she suggested that I could make a sensory board made up of lots of different textures. I really love this idea and think it could be a strong starting point. The more research I do into existing products, the better idea I will have. I am going to look in to PECS in a lot of detail as I think I could be inspired by their products.
After carrying out a quick search I found this product which could be inspirational: