Krista Ryan, a dedicated 46-year-old mother from Canada, is on a mission to make her autistic son's day easier. “Our son is 9. Making things that help make his and his peer’s day easier just makes my heart happy”, said Krista. by utilizing the power of 3D printing with FlashForge Creator Pro 2 3D printer, Krista has found a creative solution to create tools to teach her son, those tools that she can't actually buy in a store.
▲Krista 3D printing on Creator Pro 2
In the 3D printing universe, Krista is relatively new. As she explores the intricacies of her Creator Pro 2, she admits that some steps of the process, such as peeling the model’s base layer, have been tricky. However, Just two months into her journey with 3D printing, Krista has already made significant strides. The user-friendly nature of the Flashforge 3D printer has helped her easily navigate through the learning curve. Also, Krista has found solace in FlashForge's user-friendly slicing software, FlashPrint. She praises the slicer for its intuitive interface and accessibility, stating that it has been a 'super user-friendly' tool. This aids her in bridging the gap between her creative ideas and the tangible objects she seeks to create.
“My son is afraid of the toilet (He’s on the autism spectrum). Toileting training has been a huge struggle in our house.” This is a background of 3D printed toilet for her son's toy.
When they started occupational therapy, the therapist had this idea of using one of his favorite TV show characters from Bubble Guppies, to make the whole toilet less scary. Krista thought, "Why not create a 3D printed toilet for his Bubble Guppy toy?" And that's exactly what she did.
Now, every time they head to the bathroom, they put the Bubble Guppy character on the 3D printed toilet. It's become a fun routine that helps her son feel more at ease with the idea of using the toilet. She tells him, "Come on! Mr. Grouper is on the toilet. He wants you to come join him!" This playful approach has made her son more open to trying the toilet himself. It's amazing how a little creativity and a 3D printer can lead to such progress.
▲3D printed toilet and Mr. Grouper
Even though her son doesn't actively participate in the 3D printing process, he's definitely aware of the 3D printer and its printing. When Krista leaves the 3D printer's door open, her son walks over and closes it. It's a small interaction but a meaningful one that shows his connection to the 3D printing projects.
Krista has more ideas up her sleeve too. She's already working on other projects, like 3D printed puzzles and learning tools. But the first project, the little yellow toilet, stands as a reminder of how 3D printing can turn tricky situations into fun learning experiences.
▲More creative 3D printouts
Currently, Krista is working on printing puzzles and other learning tools. Her goal is to recreate some of her son's hard-to-find figurines, turning them into tangible rewards for learning goals. She's on the hunt for resources to help her 3D scan these figures, so she can recreate them for her son and his friend. “If you have a link to something we can use to 3d scan things that help create models or into files that would be lovely. I’ve got some rare figures I’d like to recreate for my son and his friend”, Krista said so.
Throughout her journey, Krista has discovered and embraced the thriving online community centered around 3D printing. She's grateful for the wealth of information, advice, and support she has received from these groups and visual tutorials. This, coupled with her personal experience, has led her to an insightful suggestion for the wider 3D printing industry: donations of 3D printers or funds to autism organizations.
Krista believes that this cutting-edge 3D printing technology can provide unique tools and opportunities to children with autism. The opportunity to create tangible objects could trigger hyper fixation in some kids, fostering a newfound confidence and capability to create what they once thought impossible.
To sum things up, for Krista, 3D printing is much more than just a hobby or a passing interest. It's a means to connect with her son, a pathway to inspire him, to educate him, and to improve the quality of his day-to-day life in a meaningful way.
Through her journey with FlashForge, she has found a way to make the abstract tangible. Every design she creates, every character she recreates, every reward she fabricates, they all add up to one thing: meaningful, tangible rewards that drive her son's learning goals forward. Krista's not only enhancing her son's learning experience but also charting a course for other parents and caregivers who face similar challenges. her story is a testament to the power of technology -It's about making a difference, one layer at a time.