Edmonton doctor makes paper toys to teach children about procedures

Thanks to an Edmonton doctor, young cardiac patients will soon have a reassuring way to learn about the procedures they might need to undergo.

Dr. Michiko Maruyama came up with the idea of making educational paper toys while training to become a cardiac surgeon. Initially, Maruyama thought her longstanding love of drawing would lead to a career in industrial engineering.

“My area of interest was toy design and children’s furniture,” she told CTV Edmonton.

But when Maruyama was diagnosed with a rare cancer, her time at the hospital changed her focus. She’s now a doctor, and halfway through a cardiac surgical residency at Edmonton’s Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute, but she never gave up drawing. During medical school, she even made daily doodles to represent what she learned. Now, she’s using her creativity to educate others.

“If they’re timid or scared, it’s easier to have a conversation around something you can play with,” she said.

Maruyama has now received a grant to make paper toys for young cardiac patients.

“You can cut it out and then assemble it together and then you can open up the chest and look at the heart,” she said. “There’s different little accessories that come with it that can help teach children throughout the whole hospital stay.”

She’s also created a two-dimensional heart.

“To introduce them to new terminology that they’ll be hearing every day,” she said. “But the main goal of this is to teach and educate through a creative and innovative process.”

The paper toys will be available at the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute this fall.

“We can give them to patients on the ward without any expense,” Maruyama said.

 While the educational toys will only initially be available in Edmonton, Maruyama hopes they’ll be used by doctors across Canada and the world one day. In the meantime, you can download and print several of them free of charge from Maruyama’s website, www.artoflearning.ca.

With a video report from CTV Edmonton’s Amanda Anderson

Original article at: http://www.ctvnews.ca/health/edmonton-doctor-makes-paper-toys-to-teach-children-about-procedures

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