Full Spectrum Classroom Design: Inclusive Environments for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders

By Kristi Gaines, Leeanne Bergen, Zane Curry and Su-Jeong Hwang Shin.

Published by The International Journal of Learner Diversity and Identities

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: August 1, 2014 $US5.00

As the number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders increases, so does the need for environments sensitive to their behavioral triggers. Contemporary classrooms are often expected to be inclusive, but may be a source of many of these triggers. This study consisted of two parts (1) determining visual and auditory triggers prevalent in classrooms and (2) identifying visual and auditory triggers in existing classrooms. This information was combined with common characteristics of second grade classrooms to develop a conceptual prototype design. The conceptual design addressed the needs of children with ASD, while improving the classroom environment for all students. The goal of this study was to develop a set of guidelines that could be used by teachers in inclusive learning environments.

Keywords: Autism, Classroom Design, Sensory Triggers, Inclusion

The International Journal of Learner Diversity and Identities, Volume 20, Issue 4, August 2014, pp.15-28. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: August 1, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 660.662KB)).

Kristi Gaines

Assistant Professor, Department of Design, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX, USA

Kristi Gaines, Ph.D., IIDA is an assistant professor at Texas Tech University, and received her Ph.D. in environmental design with collaterals in special education. She has fourteen years of professional interior design experience including projects in healthcare, hospitality, office, and high-end residential design. She is currently the director of the Environmental Design Graduate Program. Her research and publications focus on the impact of the built environment on the behavior of individuals with autism spectrum disorders.

Leeanne Bergen

Lubbock, Texas, USA

Leeanne Bergen received her master's degree in environmental design from Texas Tech University. She currently works as a design industry professional and plans to pursue a doctorate in interior and environmental design to continue her research.

Dr. Zane Curry

Professor Emeritus, Department of Design, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX, USA

Dr. Zane D. Curry, Professor Emeritus, retired from Texas Tech University in 2011. During his twenty-four year tenure, he served the Department of Design, College of Human Sciences, in various capacities including: Interior Design Program Director, Associate Chair, and Interior & Environmental Design Graduate Programs Director. His research interests include: housing and educational environments for special populations, computer use in interior design education and practice, building component technology and development, and assistive devices for individuals with physical

Dr. Su-Jeong Hwang Shin

Associate Professor, Department of Design, Texas Tech University, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX, USA

Dr. Su Shin is an associate professor at Texas Tech University. Her papers have appeared in peer reviewed journals and have been presented at international conferences. Research is being conducted to develop standard sizing systems for mass customization and mass production, analyzing human body dimensions, fit, and body shape analysis with 3D body scan technology.