DESIGNING FOR THE SPECTRUM: An Educational Model for the Autistic User

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Leestma, David Paul
Simon, Madlen
According to the Center for Disease Control children are being diagnosed with autism with greater frequency today than in the past, partially due to the refinement of diagnostic techniques and increased vigilance on the part of parents, pediatricians and teaching professionals. The educational system for those with autism however has not caught up to the growing population. The students are often overlooked by the school district and given classrooms that are detrimental to their sensory perceptions. In order to serve the needs of autistic students, new facilities need to be built and current facilities need to be adapted in order to accommodate this growing population. This thesis imagines a learning environment which both facilitates learning for those with sensory perception issues and creates an environment which fosters social interaction among students regardless of physical and mental capabilities. The design of this learning center will be designed based on research and case studies, followed by the creation of a set a principles, and the application of these principles to a test case.