A STUDENT with one eye on the clouds has come up with the perfect way to help people living with autism after being inspired by her sister.

Darlington College student Alicia Keeling now has designs on rolling out her project to help people living with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

The UAL Level 3 year 2 Art and Design student, of Leeming Bar, near Bedale, took inspiration from her sister Emily, 25, who lives with autism.

The 18-year-old was given an open design brief for her last assignment to tackle something that was relevant to her life.

So she designed a stationery range aimed at special needs people focusing on sensory sensitivity development and clouds.

She said: “SEND awareness has always been a huge part of my life and I saw this assignment as an opportunity to design something that could make a difference in the market.

“I chose clouds to be my theme because, like clouds, people’s needs and disabilities come in many shapes and forms.”

The cloud theme carries through from the logo to five stationery products made using both clay and a variety of bought materials.

“While designing, I ensured all my products included sensory elements and were accessible for my target audience,” she said. “My products are packaged in a way to cater for everyone using a simple open and close box with no tightly wrapped materials or awkward openings.”

Lockdown not only helped Alicia concentrate on her theme but also allowed her to show her ingenuity and creativity – she made the packaging from an old shoebox.

Darlington College lecturer Pippa Eeles said: “Alicia’s work is outstanding. She was the only second year student to tackle 3D product design and she has done so well working independently. I think what she has come up with is marketable and she could take it further. We will be running it by the college’s Next Steps students who also live with a range of SEND.”

Alicia hopes one day to work in teaching, art therapy or design. She said: “It is challenging but very rewarding. Overall, I am beyond proud of all my hard work and feel my final products could make a huge difference to the outside world.

“This assignment has been incredibly rewarding and a great lesson in accessible product and package design that I will take with me into the future. Working in lockdown was a real test but I have had great support on-line from staff and my peers and everyone has adapted to this challenge. It’s been a really great experience which has made me more experimental, look at recycling and make the final designs more simplistic.”

For more information on opportunities at Darlington College visit www.darlington.ac.uk.