Lubbock, TX: Author sees need for book in autism; there's "a dearth of research"

Nov 16, 2018, KTTZ FM, Lubbock, TX: Designing for Autism Spectrum Disorders When Kristi Gaines began her doctoral work at Texas Tech 15 years ago, she found a dearth of research on how to design spaces for those on the autism spectrum. "I was interested in the topic. I had seen a lot of children with autism and I knew that the environment could impact their behavior," she explains. "I could see that they were over stimulated at times, but they can also be under stimulated by the environment. There wasn't really much research out there. So, I decided to come back and pursue a phd. I had to choose a research topic and it was immediate I knew what I wanted to study. I didn't even have to give it much thought." That in turn led Gaines, now a Texas Tech associate professor of interior and environmental design and associate dean of the university’s graduate school, to collaborate with other researchers at Tech and some in other countries to formulate best practices for designing spaces for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder. That spectrum includes autism, Asberger’s syndrome and childhood disintegrative disorder. The result is “Designing for Autism Spectrum Disorders.” Gaines said the book was much needed and there was little to build on because the field was so new. … The book aims to help individuals and family members of those with the disorder, educators, healthcare providers and others. Published in 2016, the information can be utilized in a wide variety of spaces, like living and working environments, as well as recreational and educational locations. And it’s written so that non-academics can understand it…. "It's more of a foundational type of research," Gaines says. "A broad overview. There's a lot of practical recommendations, a lot of information in there to apply, but there's still a lot of research to be done. It's really exciting, that's really the purpose in doing it is getting it out there in the hands of whoever can apply the information."