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Pediatric mental health and design requirements

There are diagnostic tools and assessments used in pediatric mental health that consider spatial design and environmental requirements. These assessments help professionals understand how the physical environment impacts children's mental health and well-being.

Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS):

  • Description: CARS is a widely used diagnostic tool for assessing the severity of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) symptoms in children. It includes items related to sensory sensitivities, repetitive behaviors, and social interactions, which can be influenced by environmental factors.

  • Spatial Design Considerations: Environmental modifications, such as minimizing sensory stimuli, providing quiet spaces, and creating clear visual cues, can help support children with ASD in managing sensory sensitivities and promoting positive behaviors (Ben-Sasson et al., 2008).

Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL):

  • Description: CBCL is a parent-report questionnaire used to assess children's emotional and behavioral problems. It covers a broad range of areas including anxiety, depression, attention problems, and social withdrawal, which can be influenced by environmental stressors.

  • Spatial Design Considerations: Creating supportive environments with calming colors, comfortable seating, and access to natural light can help reduce stress and anxiety in children with emotional and behavioral difficulties, potentially improving their functioning and well-being (Gonzalez et al., 2010).

Sensory Processing Measure (SPM):

  • Description: SPM is a standardized assessment tool used to evaluate sensory processing patterns in children. It assesses sensory modulation, sensory discrimination, and sensory-based motor skills, which can be influenced by environmental factors.

  • Spatial Design Considerations: Designing sensory-friendly environments with adjustable lighting, textured surfaces, and flexible furniture can support children with sensory processing difficulties in regulating their sensory experiences and engaging in therapeutic activities (Parham & Mailloux, 2010).

Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory (PEDI):

  • Description: PEDI is an assessment tool used to evaluate functional performance in children with disabilities. It assesses self-care, mobility, and social function, which can be influenced by environmental barriers and supports.

  • Spatial Design Considerations: Creating inclusive environments with accessible design features, such as wide doorways, ramp access, and adjustable furniture, can enhance participation and independence for children with disabilities, optimizing their functional outcomes (Haley et al., 1992).

By considering the spatial design requirements highlighted by these diagnostic tools and assessments, designers can create environments that support the unique needs and abilities of children with mental health challenges, facilitating their development and well-being.


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