Classroom design for children with autism spectrum disorder

Student rendrings - special needs classroom

Classroom design for children with autism spectrum disorder

Alexis Ziegler
ARC623 | Fall 2019

According to the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has increased from 1 in 150 children from 2000-2002 to 1 in 59 children in 2018 among children 8 years and older. ASD experts believe that the early years in school, more specifically preschool through 6th grade, are critical in reaching children and establishing a solid foundation for learning and their general well- being (Martin, 2016). Architects and designers must begin to examine the important relationship that occurs between the physical design of space and human behavior.

For this design proposal a current special needs classroom from Iroquois Elma Primary was evaluated. The evaluation included an assessment of materials, usage and organization of space, as well as the acoustic and lighting design. Based on the evaluated design features, a design proposal has been created to improve the existing classroom environment.

Hearing impairment in the workplace

Proposal for an office space adpated to people with an hearing impairment

Hearing impairment in the workplace

Andrew Schaefer
ARC605 | Fall 2019

Individuals experience many different degrees of hearing levels.The objective of this project is to create a working environment that is adapted to people with various level of hearing impairment. Assistive devices enhance sound, but do not filter out ambient sounds. Certain materials can help filter out ambient noise. Furniture can also facilitate spatial awareness, ease communication, and facilitate orientation and wayfinding. Poor lighting conditions on the other hand, interrupt visual communication and are major contributors to eye fatigue that can lead to a loss of concentration and even physical exhaustion.

An itinerant therapeutic kitchen to promote aging in place

Plan of an itinerant therapeutic kitchen

An itinerant therapeutic kitchen to promote aging in place

Madeleine Niepceron
ARC623 | Fall 2019

With more than 137 million people in the world aged 80 years or more, the aging of the population has become a very important topic study as an architect. Women have a longer life expectancy than men (by more than 4 years), and that they represent more than 60% of this age group. As a consequence, older women today are more likely to age alone than men, which is why I have decided to focus on the barriers single or unattached senior women aging in place can face in their everyday life.

The objective of the project is to give single women aging in place an opportunity to socialize and participate in activities even though they do not own a car or have limited mobility dues to health issues or else.

The project is an itinerant therapeutic kitchen that :
  • Would give the opportunity for single senior to cook and share a meal in company of others
  • Would help maintain a link with the exterior based on daily (/bi-weekly) visits of the itinerant kitchen
  • Would encourage healthy eating habits and stimulate participants’ senses and memory.

Redesigning the school cafeteria to be a more inclusive environment for students with autism

Section of a proposed school cafeteria and photographs of features used in the project

Redesigning the school cafeteria to be a more inclusive environment for students with autism

Jenna Herbert
ARC623 | Fall 2019

Students with autism have different sensory needs than neurotypical students. Their senses are easily stimulated by the built environment. However, the existing school cafeteria often exhibits uniform furniture and one large space with no divisions for visual, auditory, or human needs. The cafeteria also doesn’t allow for furniture rearrangement and even often has fixed seating.

The new design focuses on providing:

• Option in seating with a variety of different activity levels

• Buffer zones to help separate noise

• Materials that absorb sound and are also pleasant to touch

• Different levels of visibility

• Access to daylight and view out of the cafeteria

• Acoustic prevention where needed

• Reconfigurability for students to get the most of the cafeteria