Physical Health

Designing Inclusive Healthcare Spaces to Support Neurodiverse Populations

Colorful Puzzle Pieces on White Background by Tara Winstead

Colorful Puzzle Pieces on White Background by Tara Winstead

Let's face it, no one wants to go to the hopsital or visit the doctors office. Our anxiety goes up and biomarkers like pulse and blood pressure rise. A range of sensory stimuli including sound, color and temperature flood our sensory systems. For people with neurodiverse issues, such as autism and biopolar disorder, these environments can be even more stressful. The Design with Purpose article shares how some architects and designers are developing new approaches to better understand the needs of neruodivergent individuals and are creating solutions to help them feel more at ease in inherently uncomfortable places and spaces.

"Going to the doctor is scary. Period. But what designers can do is shatter those pre-conceived notions with healthcare spaces that acknowledge the big feelings and help patients (of all ages) to stand up strong to them. Step one in achieving that is understanding that everyone processes emotions and their surroundings differently.

Neurodiversity can include a variety of diagnoses from autism spectrum disorder to dyslexia and bipolar disorder. Individuals that fall under this category have similar stressors to many neurotypicals but can experience them on a much more heightened plain. HOK approaches their designs with fresh eyes in all markets to accommodate how everyone processes outside stimuli, not just neurotypical minds, which results in success for every user from the workplace to the classroom and everywhere in between.

Because at the end of the day, inclusive design is universal design... Read More in i+s"