Borders around the home

Recommendation 6
Confinement of the home; detached house if possible

Chapter (theme)
Garden /outside area (demarcation)

Because of
ToM, Cognitive shifting, Limitations in social interaction and communication

In order to
avoid nuisances and unwanted contact with neighbors.

The living situations of independently living people with autism varies widely. Some live in terraced housing on one or more floors. Others live in gallery apartments and yet others in detached houses. At least two small scale Dutch investigations into living preferences of those on the spectrum have concluded that the large majority has a strong preference for the latter, a detached house.
Brule et al found this and gives noise as the prime reason, as do Van der Veeken & van Rengs, who also mention cooking smells.
(In recommendation 69, Hedwich’s story gives an impression of the dramatic impact noise can have.)

Van der Veeken & van Rengs say the most about these living preferences:
“A majority of the respondents stated to want a detached house. The most important reason they gave was not being bothered by the neighbors. Two respondents indicated not to mind living in an apartment, provided it is well insolated. One respondent preferred an apartment over a detached house. Green surroundings were deemed important by most. This was partly because of the sound-insulation , but also for a quiet impression.
Something which came up often during the interviews is het idea of a bungalow park, as a matter of fat a sort of holiday resort for people with ASD. These homes are all detached, in nature and there is enough space between the homes. Moreover the houses are located in a way that one cannot be observed by others.” (See for the latter recommendation 10)

Social problems with neighbors aren’t mentioned much, but will often probably be considerable, as is expressed by this young man:
“In a flat one has neighbors above, below, left and right. None of those one knows (except those next door, who you acquaint yourself with) and yet one lives a long time with them. When you’re unlucky this is unfortunate. I also believe a gallery flat is oppressive. One has to pass many other front doors and you can only go in two directions; I can’t wait to leave. I don’t like meeting neighbors in such a gallery. For all these reasons I fancy a terraced house more.”

In spite of the small scale of the two studies, the impression is certainly that detached housing with manageable contact possibilities is to be recommended. (Recommendation 7 is about the management of visits.)

In cases one can dispose of a garden Humphreys says: “Walls can be used to provide secure environments without feeling obtrusive and unpleasant from the outside view. This [a photograph] is a residential unit I designed for adults with autism which uses brickwork as the means of enclosure.”


Brule et al

Brule, Pim van den, Susanne Loeffen, Maddie Lubberink, Huis voor Kees. De wooneisen- en wensen van personen met een vorm van autisme met betrekking tot het interieur van de woning. Onderzoeksrapport. Hogeschool van Arnhem en Nijmegen (HAN), 2008. (thesis)
Van de Veeken & van Rengs
Veeken, Liza van der & Fleur van Rengs, Woonwensen van mensen met een autismespectrumstoornis, Arnhem/Nijmegen, Hogeschool van Arnhem en Nijmegen (HAN), 2012 (thesis) PDF
Humphreys, S ‘Autism & Architecture’. In: Link. Autism-Europe, 55(June)2011, p 9-13, 2011 (org 2008) PDF