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Designing a Built Environment for Children with Autism and Specific Learning Disorder

March 13, 2023 at 6:30:00 AM

What makes designing schools for autistic children different from the typical school design? Can a sensory "normal" environment be built for them? How are the requirements for a child with a special learning disorder different from those with autism?

This talk by Dr. Benny Kuriakose at Anant National University opens a multitude of questions that arose while designing the Sankalp The Learning Center and Special Needs School in Kolappancheri, Chennai, that provides remedial teaching to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Special Learning Disorder. The projects posed various challenges, which led to a design that was unlike the brief given, which in turn brought about significant change in the lives of the children. The great response and appreciation from the parents and the faculty were a pleasant surprise to the team. Sankalp School, which was also awarded first by E.W. Ranking India, is an instance where the design proved successful in several aspects.

What were these changes in terms of design? What is unique is that these changes are simple and nothing out of the ordinary. The design does not adapt to a building; rather, the building is specially designed for them. The concept seeps from the depths of the soil and is rooted in the traditions and culture of the place, which makes the building unreplicatable. It is truly one of a kind.

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