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An Exploration of Childhood Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Through Architecture: Towards an Inclusive Education Facility in Greater Durban.

University of KwaZulu-Natal

Gareth Calvert

The research examined Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which affects 5% of school-aged children and causes learning and behavioural difficulties. Current mainstream school designs have not considered the effect that ADHD has on children, and the architectural response of existing schools is not customised to their needs. The study aimed to develop an alternative educational architectural typology for grades 1–7 that emphasises inclusive and positive learning environments. Architectural considerations should focus on a child's sensory experiences, connecting perception to emotions and memories. Feeling safe is critical for a child's development, prompting architects to design environments that relate to the home. Phenomenological characteristics such as size, scale, form, and colour must be carefully considered to create an environment in which children with ADHD may flourish emotionally and intellectually. Furthermore, engaging with nature benefits mood, social connections, and cognitive function, while an inclusive design approach promotes cooperation and a feeling of place. Integrating these ideas allows architects to design spaces that will enable children with ADHD to feel included in mainstream schools.

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