The environment in which a person with autism lives can have a major impact on their wellbeing. The sensory difficulties faced by people with autism mean that there are a number of modifications that should be taken into account to make environments, buildings and architecture autism-friendly.

The following links and articles have been compiled as a useful resource for anyone who wants to find out more about planning and building suitable environments for people with autism.

Please see 'Related resources' at the bottom of the page for information on sensory difficulties and making environments more autism-friendly.


Published articles

Beaver C. (2003) Breaking the mould. Communication, Vol. 37(3), p.40 (Read this article)

Beaver C. (2006) Designing environments for children and adults with ASD. Paper delivered at 2nd World Autism Congress and Exhibition (Read this article)

Humphrey S. (2005, Feb-Mar) Autism and architecture. Autism London Bulletin, pp7-8 (Download from Autism London website)

Plimley, L. (2004) Analysis of a student task to create an autism-friendly living environment. Good Autism Practice, Vol. 5(2), pp35-41

Whitehurst, T. (2006) Evaluation of features specific to an ASD designed living accommodation. In: Designing living & learning environments for children with autism. Clent: Sunfield (Read this article)

Whitehurst, T. (2006) The impact of building design on children with autistic spectrum disorders. Good Autism Practice, Vol. 7(1), pp31-42


Government documents

Inclusive school design: accommodating pupils with special educational needs and disabilities in mainstream schools. Department for Education and Employment: Schools Building and Design Unit. HMSO, 2001

Access for disabled people to school buildings: management and design guide. Building bulletin 91. Architects and Building Branch: Department for Education and Employment, HMSO 1999

Designing for pupils with special educational needs: special schools. Building Bulletin 77. Department for Education Architects and Building Branch, HMSO 1992

Documents can be purchased from The Stationery Office.

To search for the latest Government documents on this topic, go to Autism Data.


Related resources


For further information about the latest good practice in autism-friendly building design join our Professionals' online community Network Autism for free.

Last reviewed 18 May 2016.