Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Architecture and Health

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dina Battisto

Committee Member

Anjali Joseph

Committee Member

Jill Shelnut

Committee Member

Vincent Blouin


This qualitative comparative case study reports on findings from a pre-and post-occupancy evaluation using multiple data collection methods to explore how classroom design features contribute to behavioral outcomes for children with ASD. Ten children, ages three to five years older with ASD, were observed over four months as they transitioned from their current classrooms into their newly built classrooms based on evidence-based design for children with ASD. For a two-month period in each setting, environmental conditions were tracked continuously in both classrooms. In addition, interviews were conducted with the special education teachers in both settings to gain insight into the functionality of the classrooms. This collaborative study clearly shows that classrooms design features (natural lighting, daylighting, noise levels, temperature, and interior furnishings) are all essential factors for creating a supportive teaching and learning environments for children with ASD. Findings suggest when there is a incongruity between the demands posed by the classroom design and a child’s ability to process environmental stimuli, then problem behaviors increase, whereby disrupting a child’s educational growth potential.



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