Environmental Assessment and Modification
Creating an Autism Friendly Environment
The environment in which an individual finds him or herself has the potential to have a distinct effect on their concentration, comfort and overall ability to access and participate. This is particularly noteworthy when discussing the often-difficult transitionary period individuals with autism can go through when entering an educational or work environment.
Sharon offers environmental assessments for schools and other centres in which autistic individuals are supported. During these assessments, Sharon will visit a school building or area and she will examine the environment’s suitability for autistic individuals or those with sensory processing difficulties (SPD). She will use information gleamed to flag any aspects of the environment that have the potential to negatively impact upon an autistic individual’s participation.
Once these areas are identified, Sharon will work with staff to ensure that the environment is designed in an autism-friendly and competent way, and that these staff are best equipped to deal with the needs of their charges. These observations and changes may include the introduction of sensory supports into centres or classrooms, the implementation of visual schedules and a number of other practical strategies that can easily be integrated to ensure the needs of all autistic individuals attending, are met. As well as these more general strategies, Sharon can also unobtrusively observe a single child or adult in their educational environment, be it playschool, primary school, secondary school or university, and create an individualised support plan that caters specifically for the observed individual’s needs.