Design for autism in children’s museums

Madison Vitale
ARC623 | Fall 2015

“Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a lifelong developmental disability defined by diagnostic criteria that include deficits in social communication and social interaction and restricted, repetitive behavior, interests, or activities.” (Baio, 2010) ASD is quite difficult to define since the disorder affects everyone uniquely as individuals with ASD can be anywhere on the “spectrum” from high functioning to low functioning.

Explore & More Children’s Museums  is anticipating significant lines, crowds, and noise,  and they’re concerned that the space will trigger children on the autism spectrum and therefore make them feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed as these individuals can be hypersensitive. With their goal of being as inclusive as possible, Explore & More has been consulting with the Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access (IDeA Center) on solutions to better addresses ASD visitors’ needs.