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Evidence-Based Landscape Design: A Pilot Study of Children with Developmental Disorders

More than just play, children with developmental disabilities (like autism and sensory processing disorder) benefit from strategically designed playgrounds and sensory gardens. Join us at AIA|DC as Ingrid M. Kanics, OTR/L, FAOTA presents a case study evaluating the outcomes of outdoor play using a multiple baseline research design. The lessons are applicable to future sensory gardens and play areas within the broad fields of architecture and landscape architecture.

About the Presenter:
Ingrid M. Kanics, OTR/L, FAOTA is an Occupational Therapist and Interior Architect with over 15 years of helping numerous communities create and run amazing places where all can play together.  In 2016, she was recognized as a Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association for her expertise in inclusive design of play environments. She has presented at local, state, and national conferences on the topics of universal design, sensory play and inclusive design to create quality play for all. Conferences include Association of Children’s Museums, American Occupational Therapy Association, National Recreation and Park Association, and National Association of the Education of the Young Child. 


After attending this course, participants will be able to:

  • Summarize research on outcomes of treating developmental disorders in the context of sensory playgrounds and gardens;
  • Define sensory processing disorders showing treatment in the STAR Institute sensory playground and garden;
  • Identify elements of landscape design that facilitate self-regulation and social participation for all children and contribute to a quality experience in a sensory playground and garden; and
  • Discuss research findings from this project, which go beyond playground design, and have implications for the design for community, school, early childhood and therapeutic play environments.