Applying Design Criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder to the Design of Public Sports Facilities
In the last twenty years the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders has increased from 1 in 166 children diagnosed in 2004 to 1 in 59 children being in 2018 in the United States. Despite these growing numbers, the needs of this growing population have received limited consideration in the design of public event spaces, such as sport facilities and arenas. Design that is attentive to the needs of people with autism spectrum disorder has led to established criteria for design of residential and education sectors such as Mostafa’s ASPECTSS Index, but more focus needs to be placed on other types of public spaces such as sports arenas. The result of the research is the development of seven design criteria that can be used to both analyze existing facilities as well as in the design of new facilities. The design criteria allow for the adjustment to the sensory stimuli, as many individuals with autism have sensory processing issues, rather than relying on spaces that eliminate sensory stimuli, the design criteria allow individuals with autism a similar experience as that of the neurotypical individual. The methodology includes personal accounts from interviews and personal experience, literature concerning the concerns of individuals with autism, universal design, and case studies analyzing and assessing sports venues, and residential facilities that support the experience of individuals with autism. The design criteria applied to case studies reveals design strategies with broad relevance to public spaces. Through these methods of research, the intent is to identify design criteria that will increase the Gaines, Kristi, Angela Bourne, Michelle Pearson, and Mesha Kleibrink. Designing for Autism Spectrum quality of life of those on the Autism Spectrum by opening opportunities that they would have previously avoided due to sensory processing difficulties.