CATEGORIES2018 Conference Papers Architectural Science: Building Science and Built Environment Quality
This study is an exploratory investigation into whether differences in sensory processing impact the way people on the autism spectrum perceive the built environment, focusing on the effects of individual indoor environment quality (IEQ) factors. Adults on the autism spectrum (n=83) and neurotypical control adults (n=134) participated in an anonymous online survey and were asked about their home and workplace environments, experiences of the general built environment, and general sensory sensitivity. Autistic participants, who reported significantly higher sensory processing scores than control participants, consistently reported significantly higher discomfort due to IEQ factors in both their home and workplace, as well as a greater cause for avoidance of buildings in the wider built environment. While the control group indicated that thermal comfort had the greatest effects on them, the Autistic group was more concerned with people, noise and artificial lighting based factors. These results indicate a need for further research into how and why some IEQ factors have a greater effect on people on the autism spectrum to be able to suggest solutions to create a more accessible built environment. Improving IEQ for the most sensitive of the population is likely to improve the built environment for all users.