16 Set Design for all? A new sensory design approach for people with ASD.
La partecipazione di DU IT al 12e congrès International d’Autisme – Europe a Nice.
Many studies have shown the impact of the environment on people’s quality of life. People with ASD are particularly sensible to the environment, because of their ipo- / iper- reactivity to sensory stimulations. The world in which we live could be overstimulating, confusing and stressful. “nihil est in intellectu quod prius non fuerit in sensu“: everything we know about the world starts from the senses. The sensory alterations could influence also the comprehension and the development of abilities during the entire life. The famous sentence by Dr Lorna Wing “once you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism” well expresses the great variety inside the wide spectrum. Does the sentence “design for all” make sense for people with ASD? This research aims at developing a new design tool that take into account people’s sensory preferences, but make professionals able to design public spaces “for all”, thanks to assistive technologies. This tool would be experimented in healthcare environment, that represents also one of the biggest challenges in case of ASD.
The research has been lead in different phases: – international literature review – questionnaires and interviews to people with ASD and their families – focus group with professionals – analysis of some international case studies – definition of requirements for a new analysis and design tool – definition of “sensory design” as a new technology to make the environment customisable – experimental case study: Careggi Hospital sensory waiting room – evaluation.
The use of assistive technologies supports the flexibility of the space. The first results present the capacity of the environment to adapt to different people. In the emergency department the sensory waiting room is used also to make victims of violence feeling secure and confident and to manage health professionals’ burnout. It represents an autism-friendly facility, but also a secure space “for all”.
This study affirm a new design approach to customize public spaces and make them accessible “for all”. It aims at integration and inclusion of people with ASD. The sensory environments influence the state of calm, but they could also promote concentration and development of abilities. For this reason, this experimentation could be a starting point to use this sensory design tool also in living or educational environments and promote a better quality of life for people with ASD.