Designing Schools for Children with Impairments: The Powers of Architecture
© 2019 Common Ground Research Networks, Jacqueline McIntosh, Bruno Marques, Joelle Lim, All Rights Reserved. Education is an important foundation of society yet children with impairments have limited opportunities for participation in school activities. There is a lack of functionality in the design of school spaces and outdoor play areas for children with impairments, arguably as there are insufficient performance guidelines that target the body condition of children with impairments. Architectural barriers that prevent a child's participation in school can decrease their quality of life, often resulting in the further deterioration of their health. This research explores existing knowledge across disciplines aimed at promoting and facilitating impaired children's physical and mental resilience and well-being in a school environment. The research method involves systematic evaluation of the current school design knowledge surrounding the creation of learning environments that target children with impairments and proposes a set of performance-based design criteria. It finds that there is a lack of health research examining the usefulness of classroom and play spaces for children with impairments, which prohibit an ideal learning environment for children with multiple impairments. In addition, it finds a demand for greater integration of outdoor play with education, which in turn can make participation within schools more enjoyable.