Exploring sensory preferences: living environments for autistic adults

This study describes a design research project aimed at developing ways to support adults with autism to better manage relationships with their home environments and other people by creating living accommodation that is more sensitive to their sensory needs.

Exploring Sensory Preferences is the work of the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design at the Royal College of Art in collaboration with the leading autism charity, The Kingwood Trust. The two partners are working together on a long-term research programme to learn more about how design can improve quality of life for adults with autism. Key findings of the Sensory Preferences project are published here for a wide readership – from housing providers, architects, designers and academics in the field to service providers, support workers, as well as people with autism, their family and friends.

The project has three main outputs: a profiling tool that helps adults with autism play a more active part in expressing their sensory preferences; a collection of sensory props and design guidance to show how lighting, fabrics and other materials may be used to create temporary, affordable and adaptable sensory-focused spaces for occupational play within the home environment; and a staff development workshop for support workers on the theme of ‘Ready Steady Make’, which promotes the development of skills in understanding sensory challenges and making sensory props.

You can download and read the full publication here

Author: Andrew Brand and Katie Gaudion, Helen Hamlyn Centre of Design at the Royal College of Art.

In association with - The Kingwood Trust

Date added: 24th October 2013