How To Design For Autism


Problem: many autistic kids are super sensitive to the sight, sound, and feel of their environment. So when New York-Presbyterian decided to build an early intervention center for autistic children, they needed it designed with their needs in mind.

One in 68 American children have been diagnosed with autism, according to the Center for Disease Control. Early intervention is the most effective treatment, requiring dedicated centers, but autistic children’s hypersensitivity to their surroundings makes designing such facilities difficult.

Universal Design (UD) is an approach to design that increases the potential for developing a better quality of life for a wide range of individuals. It is a design process that enables and empowers a diverse population by improving human performance, health and wellness, and social participation (Steinfeld and Maisel, 2012). It creates products, systems, and environments to be as usable as possible by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or situation.