Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

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Currently, the number of people being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is 1:68, with 70 percent having some sort of sensory sensitivity. Despite the current high diagnosis rate of autism, there are few design guidelines that target their specific and unique needs. The primary goal of this article is to apply an emerging framework of design guidelines to an intergenerational center that houses children and aging adults with autism. A review of literature showed diverse and changing needs of individuals with ASD, and these guidelines will highlight some characteristics of environmental planning to show how a well-designed intergenerational center can be inclusive and enhance their quality of life. This solution highlights Dr. Thomas’ Green House philosophy and Mostafa’s 2016 ASPECTSSTM Design index criteria that guided the design process, e.g., acoustics, spatial sequencing, escape space, compartmentalization, transitions, sensory zoning, and safety. In addition, the Sensory Integration and Prospect and Refuge theories formed the conceptual framework for this design. Examples of how these ideals were incorporated into an assisted-living facility are presented, e.g., aspects of visual sight lines, segregation of space into areas such as loud vs. quiet, active vs. inactive, public vs. private, etc.