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Sensory Garden and Educational Facilities for children with Autism and Cerebral Palsy

@ Sanjay Centre for Special Education, Goa


Professional Project for The Blank Slate


Project Head
User Research
Design Development




AutoCAD, Revit, Adobe Indesign, Photoshop, Google SketchUp


1 yr

About the Project

What is a sensory garden?

A Sensory Garden is a space for sensorial stimulation, physical and psychological development. Exposure to an assortment of colours, textures, smells, sounds, along with the physical development areas like a jungle gym, aid in honing motor skills in children, along with social and emotional development. 

Our Role

This project was an exercise in inclusivity and sensory integration in design. The end-users were students with Autism, Cerebral Palsy and learning disabilities. The environment the users occupy can be used to ameliorate the difficulties they face, and I kept this in mind by creating a holistic design scheme that makes learning easy.

Understanding the User - Contextual Research

Identifying the Users


Survey With Primary Caregivers and Teachers

For Parents
  • What calms the child down?
  • Is there particular activity / material / colour / texture / sound / movement /  light which makes your child happy?
  • What activities does your child face challenges in?
  • How does your child interact with birds / butterflies, animals and greens?
  • What is the preferred method of learning for your child?
  • What is the most challenging Academic Section faced by your child?
  • How does your child study at home? What are the aids they need? How much do you need to be involved?
For Teachers
  • What kind of natural elements can help in the positive development of children?
  • How do you currently conduct 'grounding' exercises?
  • How do children react to therapy or teaching outdoors?
  • What is the preferred method of teaching acquired for the children, which works best?
  • What personal strategies used by you have proved to be effective with the children?
  • What shortcomings are experienced on a daily basis which can be solved by us? (For eg. Unavailability of a space required to carry out a particular activity.

Key Insights from interviews

The results were grouped along four axes - the results are either suggestions, challenges, or information about our end user.

Design Concept

Translating the results into Project Brief

The survey results helped derieve programs for the design scheme. The programs have been categorized according to the skill they develop.

Design Language

Spaces for Pause
Meandering Pathways
Barrier-free Movement
Sensory Integration

Design Program

Courtyard Sensory Garden

Goa plan render new.png

Existing School

Existing School

Existing School

External Periphery Garden

External Periphery Garden

Site Plan

Periphery Sensory Garden


Explore the Space

Courtyard Sensory Garden


Explore the Space

Fundraising Media

During the pandemic, the project lost it's main benefactor. To raise funds, I strategized fundraising, which involved creation of this video. The video is aimed at parents, teachers and local communities in Goa that would be interested in contributing to the welfare of the school.

I've followed a 'Pixar Story' approach in creating the storyline of this video.

Key Takeways

In a leadership role for this project, I was responsible for co-ordinating aspect of this project in a new city. The project taught me the value of empathy in making design descisions. When dealing with neurodivergence, there is a low margin of error, so one must get to know the user as much as possible. 

Apart from that, I learn about fundraising and how crowdfunding works. It was a challenge to get people to care about your cause, especially when it doesn't affect their active lives. 
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