SPECIAL SCHOOL FOR CHILDREN WITH AUTISM AND SPECIAL LEARNING DISABILITIES
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.
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.