Design of the School and Office Spaces with Autism: The ASD Mark Ellerby design expert explains everyone (2023)

Have you found a very noisy room?Very bright?Very disturbing?For people who are neurodiverse, such as those with autism or ADHD, this is usually the standard experience in work spaces and other public environments.To clarify how we can be better inclusive design defenders, we talk to the architectural consultant Mark Ellerby.

Q: Can you tell us a little more about the specific design elements that you incorporate to create a friendly environment for autism?

A: It is really a big issue and that, in a sense, we can only play lightly.

My experience is mainly in the educational field, where several factors are in action.One of the main design elements that we incorporate is to create spaces that are "friendly", easily understandable and family for students, since this can help reduce anxiety and create a feeling of calm.We also focus on creating flexible spaces that can be adapted to accommodate different group sizes and provide safe spaces for students who may need to collapse.

In terms of materials and lighting, we focus on using non -polluting and natural materials and ensuring that there is good daylight and internal lighting.This helps reduce sensory overload and create a comfortable environment for all students.

Q: You mentioned "flexible spaces." How can they seem and how are useful for creating friendly spaces for autism?

A: The "flexibility" of a space means that smaller groups and larger groups can be served, also maintaining "safe" spaces.Have chairs and tables that are easily mobile, room divisors and quiet areas.He was mainly in schools, but these same the principles can be easily applied to the offices.

Another important thing that must have in terms of flexibility are the spaces of various spaces of size and linked that teachers/students can use.Yes, the ability of a space to adapt to a large or small group is definitely important, but also the availability of adjacent spaces that can be used at any time.

Some other flexibility principles include design, design and acoustic, about which I spoke in more detail in some of theMy articles of links.

Q: Are there recurrent design failures that you have seen throughout your career?

A: In schools, one of the most "wasted spaces" are the areas of circulation, such as runners.In a typical school, it is not uncommon to discover that up to 40% of the space is circulation: the space used only to reach another dry space!Many times, it is possible to integrate the circulation with another area so that, when it is not used to access other rooms, it can be used for silent learning or used as part of a common area.It keeps "wasted" space, but also creates an easily unimailed use; therefore, perhaps an area of breakage in the classroom when a child only needs to move in another place to anxiety or other reason.

Leaving this, another vital aspect for my design process is to create a building with a heart;a space where there is a sense of community;home.We will often include a learning space built around a kitchen.This is used to teach students.'Kitchen skills, but also has the function, when combined with a community meeting area, such as creating this sense of' home '.It is a very difficult question to define, but plays a subtle but important role, in the creation of a sense of belonging somewhere and reducing anxiety.It is where staff and students gather and relax.

Q: In some of his previous works, he mentioned the role of sound landscapes and sound as a focal point in tea design.He knows more about it.

The sound can be extremely intrusive.Even smaller sounds can be a distraction and any unwanted sound within a learning space will interfere with the ability of an individual to concentrate and learn.This will also create anxiety.

Therefore, the elimination of unwanted sounds from external spaces or the addition of rooms is very important.Therefore, the quality of sound within space is also of vital importance.The reverberation is 'echo': how long is a sound '' and jump from side to side.As the smallest reverberation, generally clearer and intelligible, the original voice or sound.There is no "additional" sound or unwanted sound that the student must separate mentally from the original.That, but generally the smallest reverberation, better.This really helps create a "quieter" space for someone to concentrate.It is good for all of us.

Construction regulations and school documentation jointly level reverberation and sound separation in schools, and these requirements are improved for special education needs (SEN) and autism.

Q: How do you work with school staff to ensure that design meets your needs and is effectively used for teaching?

A: It is also important that teachers, have immensely demanding documents, have their own "retirement/work space" to also have the necessary energy for teaching on the site.We often incorporate rooms or spaces of the employees eliminated in the design, so that teachers have a dedicated area where they can work and take a break from the demands of teaching.

Although this may seem common sense, the superior administration of a school can often say: "Well, we already have employee rooms here ..." It is very easy to assume that the staff of the Higher School understands the teaching and tea needs ofautism or the needs of your team of your team.Opening these discussions for the team is vital to ensure that both parties can prosper in their environments.

It is easy to think about design as "everything about students", but also needs happy teachers to offer a good education.

Q: What are some of the greatest challenges that you face when designing a school environment favorable to autism?

A: One of the biggest challenges is to ensure that design can meet the needs of all students, because the needs of autistic people can be very complex and vary from person to person.In addition, there may be resistance or lack of understanding.of school management or interested parties that may not completely understand the needs of autistic students.

One of my sayings is from Chris Packham: "If you met an autistic person, you met an autistic person."It is very simple, but it really talks about the individuality of all people.Inclusive design needs to explain this.

Q: According to everything you mentioned, there is much to consider when focusing on inclusive design.What is something that a school or organization could jump immediately?

A: 'Organization!' I am probably the worst offender, but the disorder of a room must be avoided at all costs.It needs good storage in schools, but the most important thing is that it needs a "good" storage.Of garbage, where everything ever throws each other.To meet, but storage with purpose where articles have houses and are easy to find.Open and mobile attentive and unplanned storage lead to an unplanned disorder and a visual disorder.The disorder is really just a "visual noise": it is very disturbing for someone who easily suffers from sensory overload.It is one of the most common problems I find in schools.The collapsed spaces are quiet spaces.

Design of the School and Office Spaces with Autism: The ASD Mark Ellerby design expert explains everyone (1)

Q: What advice would you give to other architects who are interested in incorporating the friendly design in autism in their work?

A: My advice would be to work in close collaboration with autistic people and their families to understand their specific needs and incorporate these needs in the design.It is also important to educate the team and management on the needs of autistic people and defend their inclusion in the design process..

Much that is considered "good design" for people with autism is as good for the typical neuro as neurodivel individuals.Acoustics, intelligible buildings, good light and inner lighting, good materials (un contaminated), overload reduction, connection with green spaces - these things are good for all of us.So, really, projecting the people of Neurodiverse is beneficial for everyone.

Mark Ellerby is the owner of Mark Ellerby Architects and is a SPEquialist without designEducational facilities for autism and shipping.One of its projects includes the centers of the Cullum society and the work for the autistic national society.

Design of the School and Office Spaces with Autism: The ASD Mark Ellerby design expert explains everyone (2)

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