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.
This post started life as a cynical attempt at clickbait. I was intending to just make a bunch of stuff up in the hope you’d come here and, er, do what exactly? Read it, I guess. Didn’t really think this one through, did I?
By Lisa Ackerman Hi April! You’re back! My 17th autism awareness month is kicking off in hours. (Yes, I am tracking the hours!) Here we go again! This is a great opportunity to dig in, inspire and motivate our community to move awareness into action for this April. Many diseases and conditions have […]
“I was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder in my 40s. Like many adults who’ve slipped through the diagnostic net due to being high-functioning, born too early, or simply female, I’ve spent a lifetime trying to figure out the lifelong social and sensory difficulties of autism. That none of us wake up cured at 18 still appears to mystify some professionals. That we might still benefit from some support, however late the diagnosis, does too. A late diagnosis of autism meant I struggled with the alien codes of small talk and office politics – until I started work at an autism charity”
“Lost and directionless, I bounced from one job to the next – my part-time work included time at a call centre, a property developer and a posh dating agency – but I was left feeling exposed and alone by complicated office politics, illogical workplace rules and the sensory overload triggered by fluorescent lighting, ringing phones and the background hum of conversation.”
Read the rest at The Telegraph.
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