Global News

October 12, 2012

Interview with Brian Johnston on the Landscape of Autism

Recent Center for Disease Control estimates say 11 per 1,000 children in the U.S. have autism spectrum disorders (ASD), which include autism, Asperger’s syndrome, and pervasive development disorder (PDD). The numbers have increased since the 1980s, but many scientists believe this is due to changes in how the disease is diagnosed and improved public education about the disorders. You and your colleagues argue that with the increased prevalence of ASD, landscape architects must increasingly factor in the needs of people with these disorders into their designs. How do people with ASD interact with the built environment? How is this different from people without these disorders?

The main difference between people on the Autism spectrum, regardless of how severe, and neuro-typical people, is their perception of the world around them and their sense of self in space and time. Yet the responses can be as wide a spectrum as the disorder itself and vary widely even within siblings on the spectrum. A familiar phrase is “if you’ve met one child with Autism, you’ve met one child with Autism” because of how wide and varied and dynamic the spectrum really is (and also how wide and varied the treatment modalities for the disorder are, as defined by... 

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