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Neurodiversity in HE Design

18 Oct 2023
Estates & Facilities Management Stage

Designing for Inclusivity, Equality and Diversity
Lucy Plumridge, Associate Director ‑ Education, HLM Architects

Gone are the days of including level thresholds, a lift and accessible toilets and thinking that you have designed an inclusive building. Todays education environments need to support a wide range of students of different faiths, genders and with a variety of neurodiverse conditions to make them truly inclusive learning environments.

While 18% of the population have a disability only 6% of these are wheelchair users, the other 94% have other physical, cognitive or sensory impairments, in particular neurodiversity. So how do we design buildings that support their needs? The presentation will cover aspects of design from external areas and approaches to buildings through to the detailed design of interiors, looking at how we can support students with mental health conditions including social anxiety, communication difficulties and autistic spectrum disorders.                                             

PAS 6463 – Designing for the mind – How small changes can make big differences to learning environments
Thomas Kirby, Inclusive Design Consultant, Buro Happold

During this talk Buro Happold will provide insights on how implementing simple design changes into our education estates can provide a better environment to process information and learn for everyone, with a particular focus on neurodiverse people.   

This talk will focus on PAS6463 - Design for the Mind, which was released in October 2022 which was co-sponsored by Buro Happold. During this talk we will look at specific design interventions that can be made to both new buildings and refurbishments of older estates to improve education buildings for people with neurodivergent conditions. We will delve into specific practical changes that can be made to areas such as finishes, fixtures and fittings, and wayfinding, drawing from the advice of the latest guidance. 


Jane O'Leary, Sector Director Education - ISG
Lucy Plumridge, Associate Director - HLM Architects
Thomas Kirby, Inclusive Design Consultant - Buro Happold I Inclusive Design



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