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Pioneering New Zealand Centre for Autism
The Cocoon will be a place of innovation and creativity, a place of fun whilst in the pursuit of excellence in all fields of learning, a place of respect and empowerment for the children and families living with Autism.
The Centre will be an example of Architecture for Autism. Some of the features considered will be:
Reduction of Detail: Children with autism are unable to discriminate separate noises, shapes and space easily; complexity causes stress and so an environment that has a sense of order, calm and wellbeing will reduce tension and be conducive to learning.
Levels of Light: Good natural light uplifts and assists in the visual understanding of space which can help reduce frustration and anxiety.
Observation: To enable observation without being obvious thereby allowing the child to act and react freely helping students and professionals to collect correct data.
Hydro-Kinetic Pool: The wellness sessions begin in the pool. With the aid of the parent and the therapist, the child is supported in the water and slowly stretched. The water removes pressure from joints and radiates warmth into the muscles. The child has a sense of ‘just being’ and the parent gets to share this experience, it becomes a nurturing and re-bonding session for the mother/ father and child.
Multi-Sensory Wellness Room: Multi-sensory therapy provides stimulating, yet relaxing activities that give the individual a sense of personal control without the demand for a particular performance outcome. The room will have a variety of hand-held objects that offer particular tactile or visual sensations.
Music Kinetic Room: Provides learners with opportunities to simultaneously develop and mature brain systems. This room encourages a child’s discovery of specially designed movements on specially designed equipments. It helps the child develop music skills, language, math skills, concentration, creative thinking, endurance, power, rapidity and dexterity and its fun!
The Cocoon's architect is Michael Sin, Managing Director of BJA Architects Ltd. www.bja.co.nz, phone +64 9 624 1992