Adapting HCD for SEN

Time: 14:15 - 14:45

Date: Day 1


Lucy Greenland, Project Architect, Atkins

Adapting HCD for SEN

How do we broaden the engagement process to ensure it is inclusive of all users of a building, particularly those with special educational needs? How are we able to utilise digital tools to capture meaningful data from SEN staff/pupils to ensure their specific needs are acknowledged and integrated as part of the brief and ultimately building?

Atkins’ Human-Centred Design Toolkit is an innovative tool with the ultimate aim of improving peoples’ wellbeing by placing the users at the heart of our thinking at both a macro and micro scale.

Together with the National Autistic Society we are researching and exploring how we develop our HCD toolkit to become fully inclusive of all users. This includes direct engagement with both SEN pupils and their supporting staff to gain an in depth understanding of their specific needs and how this information can be captured in both the brief and design of their future environment.

Key aspects of our work include:

  • Establishing tailored SEN questions to collect meaningful data from end users.
  • Exploring the integration of established SEN communication methods into our briefing/engagement tool such as ‘Picture Exchange Communications Systems’ (PECS).
  • Establishing the most important parameters/wellbeing indicators for SEN such as sensory requirements (i.e. Hyper/Hyposensitivity), wellbeing (i.e. anxiety and processing/sequencing of information) and flexibility (i.e. to accommodate for the diversity in SEN needs).
  • Exploring innovative analysis methods which ensure that qualities of an environment which are important to those with SEN become an integral part of our design option analysis.


  • Lucy Greenland Project Architect - Atkins

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