This is a blog about design from my perspective as a person with autism (self-diagnosed with Nonverbal Learning Disability). I cover both design issues for users with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), and particular designs I happen to like, while trying to give reasons why they may appeal to someone with autism. I’m not a professional designer, just someone who likes what he sees as good design. My perspective as a design-minded person with autism may be of interest to others (particularly those with ASD and anyone designing for them).
Any estimate of the ASD population is controversial, but according to the CDC about 1 in 68 children in the United States has been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, and the percentage has been rising (see chart below). That may seem a low percentage to some, but there’s a large overlap between the special needs of the ASD community and senior citizens (for instance, compared to the average person, many individuals in both groups tend to have poorer coordination, and are more easily confused by audio-visual stimuli).
Add the ASD and Senior demographics together, and you have a large consumer base for designs specific to their shared needs. In addition, the percentage of persons aged 65 or older is projected to climb rapidly throughout the developed world. In many cases, the designer’s ‘typical user’ profile may need to be modified to account for the growing ASD-Seniors market share, and this can often be done without compromising the general appeal of the product.
NOTE ON TERMINOLOGY: I was recently informed that some persons with autism object to the label ‘autistic’. I have therefore ceased to use the term in new posts. However, I lack time to remove it from old posts. I also re-blog other bloggers, and many of them use the word (re-blogged posts are not editable). I therefore hope for the reader’s kind understanding in both regards.
The Editor, DesignForASD