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Landscape architect designs toolkit to make cities inclusive of adults with autism
Date:5/1/2014

MANHATTAN Kansas State University landscape architecture student Elizabeth Decker has a goal for her master's research: help professionals create urban environments that are inclusive of her younger brother, Marc.

Marc has autism and will soon reach adulthood. Decker, Lansing, who will graduate May 16 with a Master of Landscape Architecture degree, developed a toolkit for her master's research report that helps designers and planners make cities more inclusive for adults with autism.

When Marc becomes an adult, he likely will live semi-independently, Decker said. Her project, "A city for Marc: An inclusive urban design approach to planning for adults with autism," proposes knitting together urban opportunities such as public transportation and affordable housing.

"Through this project, I really want to understand my brother," Decker said. "I want to see him go out in the real world and be successful. This project was a way for me to research more about autism and learn more about people like my brother. It helped me figure out how we can design for a group of adults that is getting bigger."

One in 68 children are diagnosed with autism, Decker said. As the generation of diagnosed autistic children ages, it is important to find ways to help adults with autism.

The National Institutes of Health has identified six needs for adults with autism: vocational training, life skills, mental and physical health support, employment, public transportation and affordable housing. Decker's urban toolkit addresses these needs because many cities do not have adequate services for adults with autism.

"The focus of the project is inclusive urban design," said Katie Kingery-Page, who is Decker's adviser and an assistant professor of landscape architecture/regional & community planning. "Elizabeth's project is about connecting the dots. While many different aspects exist in an urban environment, she is looking at how future
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Contact: Katie Kingery-Page
kkp@k-state.edu
785-532-5371
Kansas State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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