After noticing how physical environment impacted people with Autism spectrum disorder, Kristi Gaines, associate dean of the Graduate school and professor in the Department of Design, co-authored a book with fellow faculty. 

The book, “Designing for Autism Spectrum Disorders”, has received acclaim since its 2016 publication. 

“I’ve known a lot of children with autism through the years, so I have seen firsthand how the physical environment impacts their behavior,” Gaines said in a press conference. “So, when I came back to school to work on my doctorate, I decided I wanted to pursue designing for autism.” 

She co-authored the book which contained her research, with fellow professors Angela Bourne of Fanshawe College in Canada, Michelle Pearson of the Department of Design, and Mesha Kleibrink of Tech’s Facilities Planning and Construction.

“I thought people could pick up sections and – whether they’re designing for a school, a medical center, a group home or their own home – they can go to each chapter and find a resource,” Bourne said. “It’s focused toward people with ASD, but the recommendations from it could easily be applied to people with other intellectual and developmental disorders.”

The book has won several awards since being published in 2016.

“I am overwhelmed by the recognition the book has received,” Gaines said. “I am very proud to work in a profession that values the need to design for populations who are more sensitive to environmental design and features.”

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