Design for All
Many Perspectives: Design for Autism Spectrum Disorder
December 2015

Link to complete publication by clicking on article below. 

Design Guidelines for Children on the Autism Spectrum
by Tara M Vincenta, RLA, ASLA

Excerpt from presentation at 2012 ASLA Conference, Phoenix, Arizona


May 2010: Prescription for Play: Nature Based Play and Learning for Autistic and Special Needs Children

We were delighted to create this webinar for the KaBOOM! Network and their "Hot Topics in Play" educational series. KaBOOM! is Non-Profit organization whose mission is to create great play spaces through the participation and leadership of communities, and whose vision is "a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America."

Click on the link below and join Tara Vincenta, Creator of the SOL Environment, and Naomi Sachs, Director of Therapeutic Landscape Networks, as they explore the research and design considerations for creating outdoor nature-based play and learning spaces for autistic and other special needs children. Many of the challenges faced by autistic children, including motor, neuromuscular, cognitive, and sensory, are shared with a broader community of special needs children as well as communication issues, and visual and auditory impairment. Vincenta and Sachs will share ideas for creating outdoor spaces that allow children to play at their own comfort level, overcoming common challenges in a safe, FUN, nature-based environment that is equally engaging for any child.

To access the webinar please go to KaBoom!'s Hot Topics in Play page. By joining KaBoom!, for free, you will gain access to this webinar and may other resources on playscapes and the importance of play for children!

Visit Therapeutic Landscapes Network for this and lots of other great information on Nature and Health.

April 2011: SOL Environment in InformeDesign's latest issue of Implications

April is Autism Awareness month and to help spread the word, Tara Vincenta, Founder and Principal of Artemis Landscape Architects, teamed up with Naomi Sachs of the Therapeutic Landscapes Network in the latest issue of Implications, a newsletter from InformeDesign. The article, "Outdoor Environments for Children with Autism & Special Needs" showcases the concepts embodied in a SOL Environment and the role of nature in children's learning and development.
Click the link below to read more!

Outdoor Environments for Children with Autism & Special Needs


February 2009: SOL Environment Wins Award!!

Brookfield, Connecticut. February 11, 2009: Artemis Landscape Architects, Inc., creators of the SOL Environment, received and award from the Connecticut Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects at their annual Holiday Dinner held at the Great River Golf Club in Milford, CT. on December 11th, 2008. Each year awards are given for excellence in Landscape Architectural Design, Planning and Analysis, Communication and Research. The merit award, in the Landscape Architectural Communications category, Learning Environment), a unique outdoor play and learning environment for children and families living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and related challenges. Artemis founder and lead landscape architect Tara M. Vincenta, was inspired to develop the SOL Environment concept after she participated in a professional development class on healing and therapeutic garden design. Artemis has been evolving the SOL Environment concept for three years, and is now marketing the design to communities, institutions and individuals interested in new alternatives to playgrounds. A Sequential Outdoor Learning (SOL) Environment is a sequence of nine exciting outdoor spaces. Beginning simply and quietly, these SOL Environment spaces, or "rooms," gradually increase in complexity, becoming lively and rich experiential places for children and families. Within these unique spaces, activities are "sequenced" in a manner that allows children to play at their own respective level of comfort, and to build on skills in an outdoor environment. Ms. Vincenta says, "A Sol Environment is a place for families to come together, to support each other, to have fun, and to learn to overcome challenges in a safe and accepting environment that connects them back to nature. Our goal is to build a prototype SOL Environment and let the idea expand beyond our wildest expectations!" Artemis Landscape Architects, Inc. designs and builds commercial and residential landscapes of enduring beauty in Connecticut and the New York metropolitan area. The firm is renowned for creating outstanding design solutions for their clients while carefully considering the elements of site, program, budget and schedule. Their mission is to design landscapes that subtly capture the spirit of place, connecting people with their environment and the extraordinary beauty of nature.