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.
When you were a kid it was a lot easier. In college you almost had to be trying not to make friends. But then you’re an adult. You get busy with work. Your friends get busy with work. People get married. Have kids. And pretty soon being “close” means a text message twice a year.…
Unfortunately, the everyday world has yet to catch up. Only 16% of adults diagnosed with autism in the UK are in full-time, paid employment. In 2014 Baron-Cohen’s team found that two-thirds of the patients in their clinic had either felt suicidal or planned to kill themselves, and that a third had attempted to do so. “To my mind, this is nothing to do with autism or Asperger syndrome,” he says. “These are secondary mental-health problems. You came into the world with autism, and the way the world reacted, or didn’t react, to you has led to a second problem, which is depression. And that’s preventable.”
Courtesy of Guardian News & Media Ltd
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Image by – Obento Musubi (C • G • S) (Own work (Original text: self-made)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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 […]