April is both Autism Awareness and Landscape Architecture Month, so it seems fitting to do a blog post about the intersection of Autism and the way that the natural world can help people of all abilities. There isn’t a whole lot of research specifically on how interaction with nature affects people with Autism, but we’re getting there, and the TLN is glad to be able to share what resources we do know about. See the attached pdf at the end of this post, as well as our Get Out and Play! page. If you have any that aren’t on our list, please let me know!
In addition, for Autism Awareness Month:
Carol Krawczyk has been writing a series of articles on her blog, The Engagement Zone: How people engage with the environment. Carol has also written a (not yet published) TLN Blog guest post, so be on the lookout for that.
And Tara Vincenta and I have just finished an article based on last year’s KaBOOM! webinar, “Prescription for Play: Nature-based Learning and Play for Children with Autism and Other Special Needs.” The article will be published in the next issue of Implications, InformeDesign’s newsletter. If you don’t yet know about InformeDesign, now you do, and your world is now a better place. InformeDesign is one of the best resources for anyone interested in the intersection of research and design – in other words, a treasure trove for evidence-based design (EBD). To get to the original webinar, go to KaBOOM’s Hot Topics in Play page and scroll down to the one with the above title (“Prescription for Play: Nature-Based…”). They have produced many other great webinars since, so you’ll need to scroll down a ways. Tara Vincenta is Principal at Artemis Landscape Architects and is also creator of the Sequential Learning Outdoor (SOL) Environment. A Sequential Outdoor Learning Environment is specifically designed to support children and families living with the challenges of Autism and other special needs. These unique spaces, which are equally engaging for any child, offer a fun, safe and secure outdoor play and learning environment, while also presenting an array of opportunities to overcome common challenges.
And for Landscape Architecture Month:
To celebrate LA Month, Landscape Architecture Magazine is allowing everyone access to this month’s magazine online (click HERE to access). If you go to page 10, you can Letters to the Editor in response to Bradford McKee’s February Land Matters article “Reading, Writing, and Radishes,” including one my me. And here it is, in case you don’t want to thumb through the Zinio file:
Great article! Sure, the sky is falling in many ways, but I firmly believe that this is also an exciting time when good grassroots work is being met by “top-down” players such as government, policy makers, designers, and health providers. A confluence of movements – sustainability, locavore, children and nature, healing landscapes, livable cities – are meeting and building on each other to create meaningful change in our time.
Click her to access the pdf mentioned above: Resources on Autism and Access to Nature