Threshold In School – As Event And Place For The Autism Spectrum Disorder Pupil

Keith McAllister, Barry Maguire

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)


    As architects and designers we have a responsibility to provide an inclusive built environment. For the Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) sufferer however, the built environment can be a frightening and confusing place, difficult to negotiate and tolerate. The challenge of integrating more fully into society is denied by an alienating built environment. This barrier can be magnified for ASD pupils in a poorly designed school, where their environment can further distance them from learning. Instead, if more at ease in their surroundings, in an ASD friendly environment, the ASD pupil stands a greater chance of doing better.

    Whilst researchers have looked at the classroomenvironment, the transition of classroom to corridor andbeyond has so far been largely ignored. However, theneed for a well-considered threshold between class andcorridor needs to be considered. In this regard, threshold is much more than a doorway, but instead an event that demands a carefully considered place. The following paper firstly outlines why threshold as place andevent for the ASD pupil should be given consideration. It then goes onto highlight, through case studies in anIrish context, the opportunities for aiding the ASD pupil integrating in a mainstream school environment throughsensitive use of threshold. Finally it highlights inconclusion, some of the benefits for an enriched school environment for all pupils, if considering threshold as design generator.The objective is straightforward. By increasing awareness of the relationship between the ASD child and the built environment it will hopefully facilitate greater inclusion of the ASD pupil into mainstream education and society at large.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEdra 42 Proceedings
    EditorsDaniel Mittleman PhD, Deborah A. Middleton PhD
    Place of PublicationMaLean, VA, USA
    PublisherEdra Urban & Partner
    Number of pages7
    ISBN (Print)978-1-257-76543-0
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011


    • Architecture; Autism; Children; School Environment


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