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Please twiddle with your pencil cases...

Children with short attention spans can now get to grips with lessons, thanks to an innovative pencil case. Made of silicone and gel strips, it is designed to counteract the effects of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Many children with this condition want to be in constant physical contact with objects such as clothes and people. The colourful case is made up of bobbled and ribbed textures for children to prod and fidget with so they can concentrate more on their studies.

Gillian Chalmers, a design student at Gray's School of Art in Aberdeen, came up with the idea after her mother, a secondary school teacher, highlighted the problems she faced trying to get her pupils to focus.

After asking children in special needs schools what they liked to touch and feel, she set about designing the case for them. The finished product has 13 silicone strips that children can weave their pencils and crayons through before it wraps round into a unique pencil case.

She says: "I didn't want to make something that would label the children, so I designed a pencil case which is something every kid has in school. The children seem to love it. They can manipulate the textures with their fingers and prod the materials about in any shape they want."

The case was tested in mainstream and special needs schools in Aberdeen and has been entered in the BP design award competition. Its creator says: "I have been really encouraged by both teachers' and parents' reactions, so hopefully I will be able to get it up and running soon to be used in schools around the country."

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