Navigating and exploring the ASD-friendly landscape

Keith McAllister, Sean Sloan

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    As a society we have a responsibility to provide an inclusive built environment. For those with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) however, the world can be a frightening, difficult and confusing place. The challenge of integrating more fully into society can be distanced by an alienating built environment. This is particularly debilitating for younger children who can find themselves detached from learning and interaction with their peers by uncomfortable surroundings. Subsequently there has been a growing interest in promoting ASD-friendly environments, especially in a school setting. Strategies to date have generally followed a widely accepted reductionist or generalist approach. However, the authors now contend that there needs to be a greater discussion of what truly constitutes an ASD-friendly environment, in conjunction with investigating what strategies best articulate a progressive approach to supporting those, and especially the young, with ASD in our built environment. Hence this paper first introduces some of the challenges faced by those with ASD in trying to cope with their surroundings. It then outlines a triad of challenges to overcome when considering what truly constitutes an ASD-friendly environment. The authors then highlight the need and advantage of supporting change and adaption in our shared inhabited landscape through providing both choice and reassurance for the child with ASD. It is hoped that by increasing awareness and then questioning what genuinely constitutes an ASD-friendly environment, it might ultimately help facilitate greater inclusion of the ASD child into mainstream education and society at large.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)5-17
    Number of pages13
    JournalChildhood Remixed Journal
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


    • Architecture; Autism Spectrum Disorder; Children; Design; Inclusion


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