Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

A place to play: Researcher designs schoolyard for children with autism

May 08, 2012
A place to play: Researcher designs schoolyard for children with autism

MANHATTAN -- A Kansas State University graduate student is creating a schoolyard that can become a therapeutic landscape for children with autism.

Chelsey King, master's student in landscape architecture, St. Peters, Mo., is working with Katie Kingery-Page, assistant professor of landscape architecture, to envision a place where elementary school children with autism could feel comfortable and included.

"My main goal was to provide different opportunities for children with autism to be able to interact in their environment without being segregated from the rest of the school," King said. "I didn't want that separation to occur."

The schoolyard can be an inviting place for children with autism, King said, if it provides several aspects: clear boundaries, a variety of activities and activity level spaces, places where the child can go when overstimulated, opportunities for a variety of sensory input without being overwhelming and a variety of ways to foster communication between peers.

"The biggest issue with traditional schoolyards is that they are completely open but also busy and crowded in specific areas," King said. "This can be too overstimulating for a person with autism."

King researched ways that she could create an environment where children with autism would be able to interact with their surroundings and their peers, but where they could also get away from overstimulation until they felt more comfortable and could re-enter the activities.

"Through this research, I was able to determine that therapies and activities geared toward sensory stimulation, cognitive development, communication skills, and fine and gross motor skills -- which traditionally occur in a classroom setting -- could be integrated into the schoolyard," King said.

King designed her schoolyard with both traditional aspects -- such as a central play area -- and additional elements that would appeal to children with autism, including:

* A music garden where children can play with outdoor musical instruments to help with sensory aspects.

*An edible garden/greenhouse that allows hands-on interaction with nature and opportunities for horticulture therapy.

*A sensory playground, which uses different panels to help children build tolerances to difference sensory stimulation.

* A butterfly garden to encourage nature-oriented learning in a quiet place.

*A variety of alcoves, which provide children with a place to get away when they feel overwhelmed and want to regain control.

King created different signs and pictures boards around these schoolyard elements, so that it was easier for children and teachers to communicate about activities. She also designed a series of small hills around the central play areas so that children with autism could have a place to escape and watch the action around them.

"It is important to make the children feel included in the schoolyard without being overwhelmed," King said. "It helps if they have a place -- such as a hill or an alcove -- where they can step away from it and then rejoin the activity when they are ready.

King and Kingery-Page see the benefits of this type of schoolyard as an enriching learning environment for all children because it involves building sensory experience and communication.

"Most children spend seven to nine hours per weekday in school settings," Kingery-Page said. "Designing schoolyards that are educational, richly experiential, with potentially restorative nature contact for children should be a community concern."

The researchers collaborated with Jessica Wilkinson, a special education teacher who works with children with autism. King designed her schoolyard around Amanda Arnold Elementary School, which is the Manhattan school district's magnet school for children with autism.

"Although there are no current plans to construct the schoolyard, designing for a real school allowed Chelsey to test principles synthesized from literature against the actual needs of an educational facility," Kingery-Page said. "Chelsey's interaction with the school autism coordinator and school principal has grounded her research in the daily challenges of elementary education for students with autism."

King presented her research, "Therapeutic schoolyard: Design for autism spectrum disorder," at the recent K-State Research Forum.

Kansas State University


Related Autism Current Events and Autism News Articles


Motor coordination issues in autism are caused by abnormal neural connections
Abnormal connections between neurons are the likely cause of motor coordination issues seen in autism spectrum disorder. Using a mouse model of autism, scientists from the University of Chicago identified a malfunctioning neural circuit associated with reduced capacity for motor learning.

Serotonin's early role in the assembly of brain circuits
A lot of research has shown that poor regulation of the serotonin system, caused by certain genetic variations, can increase the risk of developing psychiatric illnesses such as autism, depression, or anxiety disorders.

New insights that link Fragile X syndrome and autism spectrum disorders
Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is the most common cause of inherited intellectual disability (ID), as well as the most frequent monogenic cause of autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

How does the brain develop in individuals with autism?
Geneticists at Heidelberg University Hospital's Department of Molecular Human Genetics have used a new mouse model to demonstrate the way a certain genetic mutation is linked to a type of autism in humans and affects brain development and behavior.

The backwards brain? Study shows how brain maps develop to help us perceive the world
Driving to work becomes routine--but could you drive the entire way in reverse gear? Humans, like many animals, are accustomed to seeing objects pass behind us as we go forward. Moving backwards feels unnatural.

UC Davis investigational medication used to resolve life-threatening seizures in children
In its first clinical application in pediatric patients, an investigational medication developed and manufactured at UC Davis has been found to effectively treat children with life-threatening and difficult-to-control epileptic seizures without side effects, according to a research report by scientists at UC Davis and Northwestern University.

Multiple models reveal new genetic links in autism
With the help of mouse models, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and the "tooth fairy," researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have implicated a new gene in idiopathic or non-syndromic autism.

Psychotropic drug prescriptions: Therapeutic advances or fads?
Why are psychotropic drugs such as antidepressants, psychostimulants, anxiolytics, and antipsychotics are increasingly prescribed in North America?

Multiple models reveal new genetic links in autism
With the help of mouse models, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and the "tooth fairy," researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have implicated a new gene in idiopathic or non-syndromic autism.

Some neurons can multitask, raising questions about the importance of specialization
Think about all the things you are doing at this moment. As your eyes scan across the lines of this article, maybe your brain is processing the smell of coffee brewing down the hall and the sound of leaf blowers outside your window.
More Autism Current Events and Autism News Articles

Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew: Updated and Expanded Edition

Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew: Updated and Expanded Edition
by Ellen Notbohm (Author), Veronica Zysk (Editor)


A bestseller gets even better!  Every parent, teacher, social worker, therapist, and physician should have this succinct and informative book in their back pocket. Framed with both humor and compassion, the book describes ten characteristics that help illuminate—not define—children with autism.
Ellen’s personal experiences as a parent of children with autism and ADHD, a celebrated autism author, and a contributor to numerous publications, classrooms, conferences, and websites around the world coalesce to create a guide for all who come in contact with a child on the autism spectrum. This updated edition delves into expanded thought and deeper discussion of communication issues, social processing skills, and the critical roles adult perspectives play in guiding the child with...

Autism Spectrum Disorder (revised): The Complete Guide to Understanding Autism

Autism Spectrum Disorder (revised): The Complete Guide to Understanding Autism
by Chantal Sicile-Kira (Author)


Newly revised and updated, this award-winning guide covers every aspect of understanding and living with autism today

Comprehensive and authoritative, Autism Spectrum Disorders explains all aspects of the condition, and is written for parents, educators, caregivers, and others looking for accurate information and expert insight. Newly updated to reflect the latest research, treatment methods, and DSM-V criteria, this invaluable book covers:

• The causes of autism spectrum disorders
• Getting an accurate diagnosis
• Treatments based on behavioral, psychological, and biomedical interventions
• Coping strategies for families and education needs and programs
• Living and working conditions for adults with ASD
• Community interaction and...

Autism Breakthrough: The Groundbreaking Method That Has Helped Families All Over the World

Autism Breakthrough: The Groundbreaking Method That Has Helped Families All Over the World
by Raun K. Kaufman (Author)


As a boy, Raun Kaufman was diagnosed by multiple experts as severely autistic, with an IQ below 30, and destined to spend his life in an institution. Years later, Raun graduated with a degree in Biomedical Ethics from Brown University and has become a passionate and articulate autism expert and educator with no trace of his former condition. So what happened?

Thanks to The Son-Rise Program, a revolutionary method created by his parents, Raun experienced a full recovery from autism. (His story was recounted in the best-selling book Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues and in the award-winning NBC television movie Son-Rise: A Miracle of Love.) In Autism Breakthrough, Raun presents the ground-breaking principles behind the program that helped him and thousands of other families with...

The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism

The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism
by Naoki Higashida (Author), KA Yoshida (Translator), David Mitchell (Translator)


“One of the most remarkable books I’ve ever read. It’s truly moving, eye-opening, incredibly vivid.”—Jon Stewart, The Daily Show

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
NPR • The Wall Street Journal • Bloomberg Businessweek • Bookish

FINALIST FOR THE BOOKS FOR A BETTER LIFE FIRST BOOK AWARD • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

You’ve never read a book like The Reason I Jump. Written by Naoki Higashida, a very smart, very self-aware, and very charming thirteen-year-old boy with autism, it is a one-of-a-kind memoir that demonstrates how an autistic mind thinks, feels, perceives, and responds in ways few of us can imagine. Parents and family members who never thought they could get inside the head of their autistic loved one at last have a way to break...

The Autistic Brain: Helping Different Kinds of Minds Succeed

The Autistic Brain: Helping Different Kinds of Minds Succeed
by Temple Grandin (Author), Richard Panek (Author)


“The right brain has created the right book for right now.”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Temple Grandin may be the most famous person with autism, a condition that affects 1 in 88 children. Since her birth in 1947, our understanding of it has undergone a great transformation, leading to more hope than ever before that we may finally learn the causes of and treatments for autism.

Weaving her own experience with remarkable new discoveries, Grandin introduces the advances in neuroimaging and genetic research that link brain science to behavior, even sharing her own brain scan to show which anomalies might explain common symptoms. Most excitingly, she argues that raising and educating kids on the autism spectrum must focus on their long-overlooked strengths to...

1001 Great Ideas for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism or Asperger's, Revised and Expanded 2nd Edition

1001 Great Ideas for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism or Asperger's, Revised and Expanded 2nd Edition
by Veronica Zysk (Author), Ellen Notbohm (Author)


Winner of  a Silver medal in the Independent Publishers Book Awards and Learning Magazine's Teachers Choice Award, 1001 Great Ideas has been a treasured resource in the autism community since 2004. In this expanded second edition, Ellen Notbohm (best-selling author of the revolutionary book Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew) and Veronica Zysk (award-winning author and former editor of Autism Asperger's Digest magazine) present parents and educators with over 1800 ideas try-it-now tips, eye-opening advice, and grassroots strategies. More than 600 fresh ideas join tried and true tactics from the original edition, offering modifications for older kids, honing in on Asperger's challenges, and enhancing already-effective ways to help your child or student achieve success at...

Life Through His Eyes

Life Through His Eyes
by Virginia R. Victorio


Life is not always what we want it to be. Mauricio is struggling with a life he didn't choose for himself and is about to learn an amazing lesson from the person he loves the most - Short Story

101 Games and Activities for Children With Autism, Aspergerâs and Sensory Processing Disorders

101 Games and Activities for Children With Autism, Asperger’s and Sensory Processing Disorders
by Tara Delaney (Author)


LEARNING THROUGH PLAY One of the best ways for children with autism, Asperger's, and sensory processing disorders to learn is through play. Children improve their motor skills, language skills, and social skills by moving their bodies and interacting with their environment. Yet the biggest challenges parents, teachers, and loved ones face with children on the autism spectrum or with sensory processing disorders is how to successfully engage them in play. Pediatric occupational therapist Tara Delaney provides the answer. In 101 Games and Activities for Children with Autism, Asperger's, and Sensory Processing Disorders, she shows you how to teach your children by moving their bodies through play. These interactive games are quick to learn but will provide hours of fun and learning for your...

School Success for Kids with High-Functioning Autism

School Success for Kids with High-Functioning Autism
by Rich Weinfeld (Author), Stephan Silverman Ph.D. (Author), Lauren Kenworthy (Author), Temple Grandin (Foreword)


Smart kids with autism spectrum disorders need specific interventions to find success in school and beyond. Featuring a foreword by Temple Grandin, School Success for Kids With High-Functioning Autism shares practical advice for implementing strategies proven to be effective in school for dealing with the "Big 10" obstacles, including social interactions, inflexibility, behavior issues, attention and organization, homework, and more.

Based on the new criteria in the DSM-5, School Success for Kids With High-Functioning Autism also describes how autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and social communication disorders (SCD) will now identify the students formerly identified as having Asperger's syndrome, Nonverbal Learning Disorder, high-functioning autism, or PDD-NOS. Relying on the latest...

© 2014 BrightSurf.com