InformeDesign® Releases Implications on Outdoor Environments for Children with Autism

Published year: 



Michael Berens, ASID, (202) 675-2362

Rachel Bickel, University of Minnesota, (612) 624-4797

MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL, MN (May 11, 2011) | Research and design considerations for creating outdoor, nature-based spaces for children with autism and other special needs are explored in the latest issue of Implications, a research newsletter on design and human behavior produced by InformeDesign (, the evidence-based design research organization for which ASID was a founding sponsor.

The Implications article reviews research on the benefits of outdoor play for children, gives an overview of symptoms and therapies for autism, and concludes with design considerations for outdoor spaces used by children with autism.

Naomi Sachs, ASLA, and Tara Vincenta, ASLA, use available research and their personal expertise to examine how common behaviors and symptoms of children with autism can be addressed in outdoor spaces to encourage learning and play. For example, including elements of consistency can create a comfortable, repeating pattern that supports children with autism who often prefer predictability. Similarly, providing transitions between activity spaces can allow individuals to orient themselves before experiencing something new, as many children with autism are uncomfortable with change. These and many other design considerations are explored.

To view or download a copy of this issue, go to the InformeDesign Web site at and select Implications from the Main Menu.

InformeDesign is the first searchable database of design and human behavior research on the Web. The site currently contains over 2,400 “practitioner-friendly” Research Summaries of findings from research literature transformed from more than 200 scholarly journals related to design and human behavior. In addition to the searchable database of Research Summaries, the site features Web Casts by design experts, a calendar of research-related events, and a glossary of terms. Registered users receive automated e-mail notifications about Research Summaries and will be notified by e-mail when a new issue of Implications is published.  Registered users also have access to MyInformeDesign, a tool to catalogue and store Research Summaries in a personal folder, available anywhere there is access to the Internet.  

About ASID:
The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) is a community of people—designers, industry representatives, educators and students—committed to interior design. Through education, knowledge sharing, advocacy, community building and outreach, the Society strives to advance the interior design profession and, in the process, to demonstrate and celebrate the power of design to positively change people’s lives. Its more than 36,000 members engage in a variety of professional programs and activities through a network of 48 chapters throughout the United States and Canada.

The University of Minnesota:
The University of Minnesota is one of the most comprehensive public universities in the United States and has been ranked among the top three public universities. It is a state land-grant university with a strong tradition of research, education, and public service with faculty of national and international reputation. The College of Design unites programs in architecture, clothing design, graphic design, interior design, housing studies, landscape architecture, and retail merchandising creating a nationally distinctive, multidisciplinary college engaged in research, teaching, creative production, and public engagement. To learn more about the College of Design, visit

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