Magda Mostafa



Architecture, as a science, deals with the manipulation of the physical environment to facilitate certain functions and elicit intended behavior. This environment is comprised primarily of sensory elements- textures, colors, patterns, acoustics etc. In accordance to the sensory definition of autism, these elements play an important role in autistic behavior and their cognition and integration are at the core of the disorder. This definition is the basis of the Autism ASPECTSS™ Design Index as discussed here. The objective of this paper is to illustrate the use of this index and its seven principles- Acoustics, Spatial sequencing, Escape, Compartmentalization, Transition spaces, Sensory zoning and Safety- as a design development tool. The paper summarizes the impact of these principles on the development of spatial design criteria for the Advance Center for Special Needs in Qattameya, Cairo, designed by Progressive Architects, and presents a possible prototype for schools for autism which would follow the ASPECTSS™ principles.


Autism; educational environments; school design; special needs

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