This is a blog about design from my perspective as an autistic person (tentatively diagnosed with Nonverbal Learning Disability). I cover both design issues for autistic users, and particular designs I happen to like (while trying to give reasons why they may appeal to other autistics). I’m not a professional designer, just someone who likes what he sees as good design. My perspective as a design-minded autistic may be of interest to others (particularly autistics and those designing for them).
Any estimate of the autistic population is controversial, but according to the CDC about 1 in 68 children in the United States has been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and the percentage has been rising (see chart below). That may seem a low percentage to some, but there’s a large overlap between the special needs of autistics and senior citizens (for instance, compared to the average person many individuals in both groups tend to have poorer coordination, and are more easily confused by audio-visual stimuli).
Add the ASD and Senior demographics together, and you have a large consumer base for designs specific to their shared needs. In addtition, the percentage of persons aged 65 or older is projected to climb rapidly throughout the developed world. In many cases, the designer’s ‘typical user’ profile may need to be modified to account for the growing ASD-Seniors market share, and this can often be done without compromising the general appeal of the product.
Earlier today I interviewed autistic writer and artist Samantha Craft whose recently completed book, Everyday Aspergers, brings together her reflections and experiences of life on the Autism Spectrum. Alex Forshaw To begin, your book grew from your blog posts on Everyday Asperger’s. What first inspired you to write about autism? Samantha Craft My middle son, who […]
We are back with another episode of Autism: Hope in Action! This is an expansion of our intentional dialogue that we long to have with families around the country about life, challenges, triumphs, best practices, and best therapies that exist today. It is our hope that we will be able to reach more families […]
The ultimate earphones The Dash comes with 4GB of storage, which means you don’t need an extra device for your music. It can hold up to 1,000 songs all on its own. But if you need more tunes in your life, you can seamlessly stream music from your phone through bluetooth […]
Many autistics have trouble learning the ‘unspoken rules’ of making friends. This article at Business Insider may help, as it makes some of those rules more explicit.
A branch of the supermarket chain Asda in the British city of Manchester will introduce a ‘quiet hour’ for autistic shoppers, when noise and other distractions will be minimized. To avoid sensory overload, escalators, TV screens and music will be switched off, and visitors can request a layout map to ease the frustration of wandering the aisles. Read more about it on The Week.