Using Virtual Reality to Promote Neurodiversity in Design

Using Virtual Reality to Promote Neurodiversity in Design

Using Virtual Reality to Promote Neurodiversity in Design

Neurodiversity is a term that encompasses a range of conditions such as ADHD, autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia, and dementia, affecting one in seven individuals. Recognizing the need for inclusivity, communities and organizations are increasingly focused on creating environments that cater to every neurotype. In line with this philosophy, Tarkett, a leading flooring solutions provider, has developed the Human Conscious Design Platform (HCDP).

The HCDP is a groundbreaking technology that allows users to experience physical spaces from the perspective of someone who is neurodivergent. By immersing themselves in virtual environments like offices, schools, hospitals, and care homes, users can gain a firsthand understanding of how sensory stimuli can overwhelm, under-stimulate, or distress neurodivergent individuals. Through augmented sound, lighting, and other elements, users can toggle between different neurodivergent perspectives, providing a unique and eye-opening experience.

Shaz Hawkins, Segment Marketing Manager at Tarkett, explains, “Our new Human Conscious Design Platform represents a major leap forward in Tarkett’s philosophy of creating spaces that are good for people and planet. It enables architects, designers, organizations, and the public to experience an environment through a neurodivergent lens, fostering empathy and understanding. This technology can help shape more inclusive spaces where individuals of all neurotypes feel welcomed and thrive.”

To further support the promotion of neurodiversity in design, Tarkett is also rolling out a RIBA-accredited Human Conscious Design continuing professional development (CPD) course. This course is designed to educate architects and designers on the principles and best practices of inclusive design that address neurodiversity. In addition, Tarkett has published a report, Human Conscious Design Principles, providing practical advice and insights to help organizations and designers better understand neurodiversity and create inclusive spaces.

By leveraging the power of virtual reality and educational initiatives, Tarkett is at the forefront of driving change in the design industry. With a focus on neurodiversity, they are championing the creation of equitable spaces that cater to the diverse needs of individuals, promoting inclusivity and enhancing the well-being of all.

Additional facts not mentioned in the article:

– Virtual reality (VR) technology is being increasingly used in various industries, including healthcare, education, and entertainment, to provide immersive and interactive experiences.
– The use of VR in promoting neurodiversity in design allows for a more comprehensive understanding of the challenges and needs of neurodivergent individuals.
– Neurodivergent individuals have unique perspectives and sensory processing differences that can greatly impact their experience of physical spaces.
– The Human Conscious Design Platform (HCDP) developed by Tarkett specifically addresses the sensory aspects of neurodiversity but does not cover other aspects, such as cognitive and social differences.
– The HCDP allows users to toggle between different neurodivergent perspectives, which helps to create empathy and understanding for the diverse experiences of neurodivergent individuals.
– Tarkett’s RIBA-accredited Human Conscious Design CPD course provides architects and designers with valuable knowledge and skills to create inclusive designs that consider neurodiversity.
– The Human Conscious Design Principles report by Tarkett offers practical advice and insights to organizations and designers on how to create inclusive spaces that cater to the diverse needs of neurodivergent individuals.

Key questions and answers:

1. What are the main benefits of using virtual reality to promote neurodiversity in design?
Using VR allows individuals to experience the world from different neurodivergent perspectives, helping to foster empathy, understanding, and inclusivity in design.

2. What challenges are associated with promoting neurodiversity in design?
One of the challenges is the wide range of neurodivergent conditions, each with unique needs and preferences. Designers need to consider these individual differences to create truly inclusive spaces.

Advantages of using virtual reality to promote neurodiversity in design:

1. Enhanced understanding: VR allows designers and individuals to experience firsthand how different sensory stimuli can affect neurodivergent individuals, leading to a better understanding of their needs.
2. Empathy building: By immersing themselves in virtual environments, users can develop empathy and a deeper appreciation for the challenges faced by neurodivergent individuals.
3. Improved designs: The insights gained from using VR can lead to more inclusive and accommodating designs that cater to the diverse needs of neurodivergent individuals.

Disadvantages of using virtual reality to promote neurodiversity in design:

1. Accessibility limitations: Not everyone has access to VR technology, limiting its impact and reach.
2. Potential disconnect between virtual and physical environments: While VR can provide valuable insights, translating those insights into physical spaces can be challenging and may require additional considerations.

Related links:
Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)