Applying the hexagon-spindle model to the design of school environments for children with autistic spectrum disorders

Andrée Woodcock, Alex Woolner, Rachel Benedyk

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    16 Citations (Scopus)


    Schools and other educational environments beyond serving as the primary work places of children provide the backdrop against which formative emotional, psychological, cognitive and physical development takes place. However, ergonomists have paid little attention to the design of these environments, the interactions within them or their organization from a child's perspective. Children with special education needs, such as those with hearing or visual difficulties, cognitive or social disabilities, or even those with different learning styles may be placed in mainstream schools ill-equipped to suit their needs. Rather than retrofitting classrooms as children with different requirements enter the school, a ground-up approach could be taken to create effective educational environments based on an understanding of the learning tasks to be supported, the learner characteristics and the facilities and interactions needed to effect task completion. The application of an holistic ergonomic model, such as the Hexagon-Spindle model [1,2] provides a means of systematically considering the variables which need to be included in the design and evaluation of such environments. This paper presents a case study of the application of this model to the design of low sensory classrooms and interactive learning experiences for children with an autistic spectrum disorder.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)249-259
    Number of pages11
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Aug 2009


    • Children with special educational needs
    • Ergonomic model
    • Learning environments

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Rehabilitation
    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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