Cherry Trees is a Surrey-based charity that provides professional home care for children and young adults aged 0-19 with a range of complex disabilities, from learning and physical impairments to sensory issues including autism. We have partnered with the charity for the last two years, donating our time to projects that can improve their facility and the experience of their visitors.
Cherry Trees’ CEO Claire Bryant recently delivered a Continuing Professional Development [CPD] session with the staff in our Guildford studio, sharing her experiences of the impact of the built environment on people with autism. In recognition of World Autism Awareness Day, Part II Architectural Assistant Fiona Grieve shares our learnings whilst working on projects with the charity.
During her CPD Claire engaged our staff in simulations of different sensitivities, and explored the impact of everyday objects and their stimuli to the senses. The CPD launched the design brief for the internal competition to design and manufacture a piece of the sensory jigsaw puzzle to be used in their garden.
The senses are exceptionally influential for how people with autism perceive and respond to the world around them. As such, an effectively designed sensory environment can be greatly beneficial for people with autism. To assist Cherry Trees with the great work they do, Scott Brownrigg have worked with them to improve their outdoor facilities, providing a garden that stimulates the senses in an environment the children feel safe in.
The complexity of autism often means each person will be affected differently. The spectrum of stimulation can range between hypo sensitivity (a muted sensitivity to sensory things) to hypersensitivity (an over sensitivity to sensory things) and the various stages in between. The fundamental success of the garden design is ensuring inclusivity for a diversity of sensitivities.