Neurodiversity Seminars

15:00 - 15:30

Challenging The Norm – Designing Bespoke Environments for Learning Disabilities

Reflections on the new £32m Aspen Wood Low Secure Learning Disabilities Unit Project, Maghull, for Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust. Including national context re LD services, service aspirations/key drivers, Service user engagement, cross sector learnings, Sensory design, security challenges, Landscape design, the Arts, construction delivery through COVID. Lessons learned/Influence and on two subsequent GDA LD specific projects currently in design in Lancashire and the Black Country (ie Blundell Brooke LD Unit and Heath Lane LD recovery Hub). Continuity of briefing/risk approach across different Trust clients. Finally, lessons learned and impact on wider Mental Health design best practice not just LD.


16:00 - 16:20

Human Conscious Design Principles – Creating Spaces Where Everyone Can Thrive

We are all unique, our differences - shaped by age, gender, ethnicity, and ability - make up our multi-faceted and interconnected world. Over the last two years Tarkett have been carrying out research to understand how our different human make-up affects us as we go through life in education, at work and in elder care. This research has helped create 'Human Conscious Design Principles'.
For communities, organisations, and businesses to truly thrive everyone in society needs to be able to flourish. Design has a pivotal role to play here; to create spaces that foster inclusivity is imperative and this presentation looks at several neurotypes, in particular ADHD, autism and dementia, their signs and symptoms and the effect a well-designed, inclusive environment can have on the individual.
Inclusive design celebrates the vast diversity of human experiences by putting people at the heart of the process from the start. But it’s not about designing to the common denominator, nor at the expense of creativity. The presentation looks at specific challenges and individual needs focussing on sensory processing, executive functioning, and emotional regulation. It then looks at how we can design for life highlighting key considerations for designing environments specifically with hypersensitivities and hyposensitivities in mind, as well as dementia.

By the time the event takes place, there will be a RIBA accredited CPD and a virtual reality empathy platform to showcase a truly inclusive environment.


16:20 - 16:40

Service User Led Design: Designing Therapeutic Personal Spaces for Autism/CAMHS Environments

Over the last 12 months the teams at Gilling Dod, Kingsway Group and Britplas have undertaken research, development, and collaboration to explore patient centred design around next generation CAMHS bedroom environments and in particular design responses around Autism, Neurodiversity and eating disorders.  The project is a vehicle to stimulate meaningful engagement and collaboration with a broad range of Service users, Experts by Experience, Clinical practitioners, carers, and providers in the sector. To give service user voices a platform, to stimulate design innovation/insight/learning and bring in supply chain experts/innovators to respond to bespoke needs. Aim was to create an innovative, responsive, sensory bedroom concept design which could be used to promote discussion/feedback/insights/learnings via real world mock ups to be encountered/explored/evolved with stakeholders moving forward.

Key to this project was engagement and we approached this is numerous ways. POE from previous CAMHS clients, reaching out to MH charities, advocates and champions in the field, and approaching leading figures in Autism centred services. This included The Caudwell Children’s charity who we have worked with collaboratively in developing the brief and even taking part in their Family fun day event meeting/engaging with young people, families, ambassadors and clinical practitioners to understand the key issues/drivers/triggers. Same experts then helped refine the initial concepts into a working design.

Designs were then developed with an assembled group of innovative suppliers (Kingsway Group, Britplas, Pineapple, Thorlux etc) to help create actual 1 to 1 mock up located either end of the country and with a view to engaging with key stakeholders over time to help evolve the understanding/stimulate the conversation. A chance to challenge the norm, go beyond the P23 repeatable room model, and promote design aspiration and expectations on MH build projects across all pathways.



  • Hannah Lee Interior Designer - Gilling Dod Interior Design