Nature as a Healer for Autistic Children

Hadeer Barakat, Ali Foaad Bakr, Zeyad El-sayad
According to estimates from the Center for Disease Control (CDC's) in 2008 and the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network in 2010, about 1 in 88 children had Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in 2008 and about 1 in 68 children had Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in (2010). The eighth Scientific Conference for Autism held by the College of Education in conjunction with the Egyptian Society for Hydration Capacities of Children with Special Needs revealed that 1 out of every 80 children in Egypt are suffering from autism and this number in Egypt was expected to rise from 2.3 million in 2001 to 2.9 million in 2017.

The reason for many of autistic children’s symptoms is sensory integration; it is the power to understand, organize, and feel sensory data from the environment and body. The issues surrounding sensory integration are presented in hyposensitive and hypersensitive reactions by children with autism to the vestibular, proprioception, tactile, audio, visual, and olfactory senses.

A great deal of research has been conducted on gardens and their effect on health outcomes and how a garden may provide benefit:
1. Relief from physical symptoms or awareness of those symptoms.
2. Stress reduction.
3. Improvement in overall sense of well-being.

The aim of this paper is to establish a group of guidelines for designing a therapeutic garden for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder to treat the sensory integration problems of children with ASD by designing a sensory garden which should focus on therapeutic interference. By using the elements and principles of design, the guidelines for this garden are focused on producing calming effects for hyper reactive children with ASD and stimulating effects for hypo reactions.

Keywords

Autistic children, healing gardens, sensory integration, hyper -reactive children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, hypo- reactive children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

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