Aldo goes to Primary School: Experiencing school through the lens of the autistic spectrum.

Hugh McNally, Dominic Morris, Keith McAllister

    Research output: Book/ReportBook


    The document draws largely on the results of research carried out by Hugh McNally and Dominic Morris of McNally Morris Architects and Keith McAllister of Queen’s University Belfast between 2012 and 2013. The objective of the study was to obtain a greater understanding of the impact that architecture and the built environment can have on people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The investigation into the subject centred on parents of young children with ASD in the belief that they are most likely to have an intimate knowledge of the issues that affect their children and are relatively well positioned to communicate those issues.

    The study comprised a number of components.

    - Focus Group Discussions with parents of children with ASD
    - A Postal Questionnaire completed by parents of children with ASD
    - A Comprehensive Desktop study of contemporary research into the relationship between ASD and aspects of the built environment.

    Social stories are then used to help illustrate the world of a child with ASD to the reader and identify a series of potential difficulties for the pupil with ASD in a primary school setting. Design considerations and mitigating measures are then proposed for each difficulty.

    The intention is that the document will raise awareness of some of the issues affecting primary school children with ASD and generate discourse among those whose task it is to provide an appropriate learning environment for all children. This includes teachers, health professionals, architects, parents, carers, school boards, government bodies and those with ASD themselves.

    While this document uses the primary school as a lens through which to view some of the issues associated with ASD, it is the authors’ contention that the school can be seen as a “microcosm” for the wider world and that lessons taken from the learning environment can be applied elsewhere. The authors therefore hope that the document will help raise awareness of the myriad of issues for those with ASD that are embedded in the vast landscape of urban configurations and building types making up the spatial framework of our society.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationBelfast
    PublisherMcNally Morris Architects / Northern Ireland Arts Council
    Commissioning bodyArts Council of Northern Ireland
    Number of pages48
    ISBN (Print)978-0-957-6220-0-5
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2013


    • Architecture; Autism; Children; Design; School Environment


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