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  • A Designer’s Approach: Exploring how Autistic Adults with Additional Learning Disabilities Experience their Home Environment

Gaudion, Katie, 2015, Thesis, A Designer’s Approach: Exploring how Autistic Adults with Additional Learning Disabilities Experience their Home Environment PhD thesis, Royal College of Art.

Abstract or Description:

Autistic adults with limited speech and additional learning disabilities are people whose perceptions and interactions with their environment are unique, but whose experiences are under-explored in design research. This PhD by Practice investigates how people with autism experience their home environment through a collaboration with the autism charity Kingwood Trust, which gave the designer extensive access to a community of autistic adults that it supports.
The PhD reflects upon a neurotypical designer’s approach to working with autistic adults to investigate their relationship with the environment. It identifies and develops collaborative design tools for autistic adults, their support staff and family members to be involved. The PhD presents three design studies that explore a person’s interaction with three environmental contexts of the home i.e. garden, everyday objects and interiors. A strengths-based rather than a deficit-based approach is adopted which draws upon an autistic person’s sensory preferences, special interests and action capabilities, to unravel what discomfort and delight might mean for an autistic person; this approach is translated into three design solutions to enhance their experience at home.
By working beyond the boundaries of a neurotypical culture, the PhD bridges the autistic and neurotypical worlds of experience and draws upon what the mainstream design field can learn from designing with autistic people with additional learning disabilities. It also provides insights into the subjective experiences of people who have very different ways of seeing, doing and being in the environment

Qualification Name: PhD
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies
Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies > W280 Interactive and Electronic Design
School or Centre: Research Centres > Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design
School of Design
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2015 16:48
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2016 10:59
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/1692

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