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

Top tips

Find out how building design affects autistic people and what design factors to take into account when designing autism-friendly buildings, interiors and grounds.


Autism-friendly design - information taken from an interview with Dr Magda Mostafa a world leading expert on designing built environments for autism, that first appeared in Your Autism Magazine, Vol 49(2), Summer 2015.

Autism-friendly environments: a review. In 2011 Maria Luigia Assirelli from GA Architects reviewed the developments that had been made in awareness of autism-friendly architecture over the previous five years.

Creating autism-friendly spaces. Architect Simon Humphreys explains how to adapt your environment for autistic people. Read his advice on clarity, proportion, senses and materials.

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

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

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

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

Find more documents on this topic in our library catalogue.

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.