• Benny Kuriakose


Designing is the art of creating an environment and arranging the space to suit the requirements of its users. Understanding user needs lies at the heart of evolving any design concept. Normally sound, visual, and tactile characteristics of space are used by designers to bring the essence of space to its users, also aids the purpose and activities within a space, specifically for special need users. In spite of the obvious opportunities of planning helpful engineering conditions for autistic users, autism has commonly been excluded from architectural layout codes and guidelines.

When a project came to us to do an autism school design, a school for learning disabilities, we found that very little research material was available. Although the number of people with these disabilities is on the increase, there were no standards developed for the special school designs.

We were trying to understand Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Specific Learning Disorder (SLD) when the project came to us. In this process of understanding Autism Specific Disorder, we were trying to find what is ideal for them or what is normal for these people so that the disturbances are minimal and they can incorporate their head, heart and hand towards learning.

Overall objective of designing a school for learning disabilities
Overall objective of designing a school for children with autism and learning disabilities


1. Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

2. Understanding Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD)

3. Design Approach for Autism School Design

4. Design Approach for Specific Learning Disability (SLD) Schools

5. Design Objective of Special School Design

6. Special Needs School Design Process

7. Design Criteria

8. Autism School Design Criteria

9. Design criteria for Specific Learning Disability (SLD) Schools

10. Sankalp School-Special School in Chennai

11. Our Project – Special School Design

12. Important Points Considered in Our Design of Sankalp Special Needs School

13. Sankalp School Chennai Project Details

13.1. The Open School

13.2. The learning Centre

13.3. Sahayika

13.4. Courtyards and Sensory Design (Motor Attuned)

13.5 Colour Schemes Used in Our School Design

13.6 Sankalp School landscape plan

14.Sankalp School Photographs

1. Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Children/adults are highly sensitive or under-sensitive to sensory experiences. The spectrum dictates the severity of the disorder, which is why it is called autism spectrum disorder.

All of these can generally result in intellectual disability, motor coordination, physical health, attentiveness or disability to converse. But as each person is different, every student may not have all of these disabilities, there can be some who have exceptional levels of intellectual ability but can have some other disability.