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|Title:||TOWARD A THERAPEUTIC AND AUTISM-FRIENDLY HOME ENVIRONMENT|
|Department:||Geography and Earth Sciences|
|Abstract:||The unique characteristics of people with autism influence their spatial experience and interaction with the physical environment resulting in struggles not only to them but also to their families and caregivers. This research, which drew on the therapeutic landscapes theory, aimed at exploring these challenges in home environment and the role of modifying the physical home environment in alleviating these challenges. The research employed qualitative methods on three phases: a) learning from the experience of key informants who are involved in creating or modifying the home environment of people with autism. This phase involved interviews (n=4) with architects and interviews (n=2) and a focus group (n= 9 participants) with Occupational Therapists OTs) ; b) online survey across Canada and U.S.A with families of children with autism (n=168) , and; c) in-depth diary interviews with three selected case studies of families having children with autism and living in different housing typology (house, townhouse and apartment) in the Great Toronto Area. The identified themes provided comprehensive understanding on the following: (1) the common characteristics of people with autism affecting their interaction with the built environment; (2) the physical, social and psychological challenges that affect the quality of life of children with autism and their families in their home environment and the physical elements contributing to these challenges; (3) the common home modifications adapted by families to face these challenges; and; (4) the role of home modifications in shaping home environment as a therapeutic landscapes of healing. It was evident that the implemented modifications positively affected the families’ experiences of home as a physical, social, and; symbolic space.|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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|Complete Thesis for final sumbission-15 Oct 2014.pdf||Thesis||4.54 MB||Adobe PDF||View/Open|
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