Title page for ETD etd-0127103-211300

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Hebert, Bonnie Barnes
URN etd-0127103-211300
Title Design Guidelines of a Therapeutic Garden for Autistic Children
Degree Master of Landscape Architecture (M.L.A.)
Department Landscape Architecture
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Kevin Risk Committee Chair
Bruce Sharky Committee Member
Sadik Artunc Committee Member
  • healing gardens
  • environments for autistic
  • treatments for autism
  • therapeutic outdoor environment
  • restorative gardens
Date of Defense 2002-11-13
Availability unrestricted
This study establishes a set of guidelines for designing a therapeutic garden for autistic children. To understand how a garden may provide benefit, the literature on healing gardens is reviewed. The history of gardens in hospital settings and other healthcare institutions is examined. In addition, published work on the effects of nature on stress and health outcomes and theories as to why nature is restorative is included in the review of the literature. Because the focus of the study is outdoor environments for autistic children, published works on children’s outdoor environments and the topic of play are reviewed as well.

The nature of autism and its characteristics are studied to determine the strengths, deficits, and needs of the autistic child as well as current treatment methodologies in use today including whether these treatments would lend themselves to an outdoor environment.

Informal interviews with professionals who work with autistic children on a daily basis give insight into these treatment methodologies. A field study conducted at a facility for autistic children in New Orleans allowed observations of autistic children and the professionals who work with them providing first hand information about the nature of autism and implementation of treatment methodologies.

Based on the extensive literature review, informal interviews, the field study, direct observation, and the writer’s own experience of teaching autistic children in New Orleans for a year, design guidelines are established.

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