A.E.R.O. Therapeutic Center

A Research Based Approach to Neurodiverse Education

AIA Continuing Education Provider

1.5 LU / HSW

Using evidence based-research methods inserting radical empathy by walking in the shoes and looking through the lens of students physical, emotional, and neurological diversities. Our case study: A.E.R.O. Therapeutic Center in the underserved community of Burbank, IL, is a brand-new facility specifically designed for physical and neurodiversities, ages 3 to 24 years. The overarching goal for the Therapeutic Center is for the architecture to support the reduction of environmental stress for all users. Research was derived to understand the diverse needs of differently abled students and to radically empathize through the lens of the users. A therapeutic center for education should be a safe-haven for students; it should be a warm welcoming environment that fosters independence and resilience for what their future my hold while maintaining dignity. Research will be shared in two areas – Key Environmental Factors including: sensory loading, transitions, overlapping, geographic stressors, biophilia, and care. Research Approaches and Architectural Implications including: health Intelligence and consultation, assistive technologies and adaptive education tools, teacher and staff wellness, visual clutter, color, movement, nutrition, natural and artificial lighting and acoustics. Research will show how the project was designed to enhance teaching and learning through specifically designed environments for better health, reduced stress, equity, diversity, and inclusion. This research and project is a game changer for all learning environments in our post-covid world.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Provide the audience with digital tools on quantitative and qualitative research strategies that were conducted. This includes two books; one on research and one on design integration.
  2. Outline methodologies for the integration of research to accommodate neurodiversities in the built environment.  
  3. Identify attributes of schools for opportunities to reduce neurodiverse environmental stressors and to develop radical empathy for diverse learners.
  4. Participate in a discussion about lessons learned during the research, design, and construction processes and how space can support mentally safe space for neurodiverse students.
Robin Randall, FAIA, ALEP, LEED BD + C
Robin Randall, FAIA, ALEP, LEED BD + C
Principal and Director of Learning, Legat Architects 

Robin is leader of the national PreK thru Higher Education practice at Legat Architects. She connects personally to each project ensuring the design of every learning environment supports diversity and engages students in a culture of inquisitiveness. Robin's 35 years of experience includes designing and planning award winning educational centers from early learning, elementary, middle, high school including specialty learning environments. Her current research is on How Building Teach Kindness.

Robert Wroble, AIA, LEED AP
Robert Wroble, AIA, LEED AP
Principal, Legat Architects

Rob is an accomplished project manager with over 30 years of experience in all phases of programming, project management, design and construction. As Associate Director of the K-12 Education Practice at Legat Architects, he leads many of the firm’s significant educational projects, responsible for client communication, planning, design, cost estimating, scheduling, and consultant management. His educational portfolio has specialized in the evaluation, planning and renovation of district-wide school facilities to maximize their life cycle and reduce maintenance costs. He has led multi-campus, capital improvement projects for numerous school districts throughout the Midwest.

Kelsey Jordan, AIA, WELL AP
Kelsey Jordan, AIA, WELL AP
Fitwel Educational Planner, Architect, Legat Architects

Kelsey is a designer, activist, and leader who is experienced as an educational design professional with an emphasis on education and wellness. Her visions for the future of architecture involve strongly embedded ideologies on designing for equity in the built environment. Through nationally recognized research, she’s an expert on how health and wellness can be implemented for positive change within communities. Kelsey utilizes her passion to design stimulating, future-focused learning environments for Legat Architects.

Track: Research

This track elevates Research on learning and learning environments and focuses on methodology, findings, and implications for practice. Tangible takeaways are encouraged, including tools and resources that support innovation and improvements to learning environments. There is Art in how we utilize Science to improve our design outcomes and our design and research process. To this end, dissemination of research findings is a priority so that learning environments are re-imagined and enhanced based on evidence and measured impact, not based on trends.

Primary Core Competency
Design of Educational Facilities: Acts as a resource to the design team in providing ongoing guidance and support to ensure that the emerging and ultimate design aligns with the established community vision, education goals, future programming, written design standards, best/next practices and education policy.

LearningSCAPES 2023

October 12-15 | Hilton Chicago

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