Abstract

As architects and designers we have a responsibility to provide an inclusive built environment. For the Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) sufferer however, the built environment can be a frightening and confusing place, difficult to negotiate and tolerate. The challenge of integrating more fully into society is denied by an alienating built environment. For ASD pupils in a poorly designed classroom, their environment can distance them from learning. Instead, if more at ease in their surroundings, in an ASD friendly environment, the ASD pupil stands a greater chance of doing better. This paper sets out the triad of challenges faced by designers when considering the ASD friendly environment and then examines lessons to be learnt from 9 studied ASD friendly classrooms in a Northern Ireland context. The objective is straightforward. By increasing the awareness of the ASD friendly classroom it will hopefully facilitate greater inclusion of the ASD pupil into mainstream education and society at large.

Keywords:

Architecture, Autism, Children, Design, School Environment

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Jul 7th, 12:00 AM

The ASD Friendly Classroom – Design Complexity, Challenge and Characteristics.

As architects and designers we have a responsibility to provide an inclusive built environment. For the Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) sufferer however, the built environment can be a frightening and confusing place, difficult to negotiate and tolerate. The challenge of integrating more fully into society is denied by an alienating built environment. For ASD pupils in a poorly designed classroom, their environment can distance them from learning. Instead, if more at ease in their surroundings, in an ASD friendly environment, the ASD pupil stands a greater chance of doing better. This paper sets out the triad of challenges faced by designers when considering the ASD friendly environment and then examines lessons to be learnt from 9 studied ASD friendly classrooms in a Northern Ireland context. The objective is straightforward. By increasing the awareness of the ASD friendly classroom it will hopefully facilitate greater inclusion of the ASD pupil into mainstream education and society at large.

 

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