Designing for the Autism Spectrum

Object Study
November 5, 2012, 9:23 AM
Filed under: Autism + Design | Tags:

Individuals with autism are affected by the tiniest detail and are being bombarded by overstimulation in our society every day.  Simplifying design while focusing our efforts on details that may be overlooked could not only help this specific group but our entire society as well.

This can be achieved through studies of objects and materials.  The idea of creating stair-like objects came from a discussion of how children learn.  By using architectural elements, I was able to explore different ways to describe what a stair was, and how it was used in a smaller scale. The first material used was steel and wood.  These were the first initial materials to be used in the final design of the building.  Wood introduces a warm feeling into the building, while steel has a rigidity that offers structure and support.


The second material used was walnut.  I was able to carve stairs into a piece of walnut that was eventually sanded down to allow the user of this object to continuously slide his/her finger along the steps repeatedly. The repetition introduced by this object opened a new idea to the project. The need for this “rubbing” to keep happening needed to appear spatially in the final design.

The smoothness of the material and how the object was designed to control user’s need to continuously use the object advanced the design of the building. Image

Concrete was the third and final material used in this series of explorations.  The stair-like qualities in this exploration become quite literal.  This allowed me to understand the weight of concrete as well as the different textures that could be created with different molds and concrete types. Image

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