Policy Press

At Home with Autism

Designing Housing for the Spectrum

By Kim Steele and Sherry Ahrentzen


Nov 25, 2015

Page count

288 pages




190 x 240 mm


Policy Press
At Home with Autism

At Home with Autism: Designing Housing for the Spectrum introduces readers to conditions and aspirations of adults on the autism spectrum that demand a new approach to how we provide, locate, design and develop homes in which they live. The book argues that there is no singular stellar residential model, just as there is no singular prototype of autism. Grounded in an extensive array of research sources, the book identifies resident-focused quality of life goals, and profiles design guidelines directed to those goals. The book implores those involved in housing design, production and policy to expand their exposure to what is possible, what is desirable, and to direct their efforts towards expanding residential choices for those on the spectrum.

"Anyone seeking to create a home for an adult on the autism spectrum needs to read this book. Steele and Ahrentzen combine their extraordinary understanding of autism and design to provide a clear guide for crafting living environments that respond to the unique individual needs of those with ASD." Fred G. Karnas, The Kresge Foundation

“In At Home with Autism Kim Steele and Sherry Ahrentzen deliver courageous, compassionate, and assiduously researched design guidelines in service to adults with a singularly challenging neurodevelopmental disorder, the first book to expressly address this topic.” Daniel S. Friedman, School of Architecture, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

“This book offers a useful contribution to the design of housing for people with Autism Spectrum Conditions. The authors bring personal insight and available research… Their book is practically oriented and well-referenced... It is a helpful introductory resource for practitioners, and those interested in the important field of neuroatypical design.” Journal of Housing and the Built Environment

Kim Steele is a research and design consultant focused on improving quality of life through design. She works with residents, community leaders and organizations to tackle chronic health issues by improving the built environment. She is the parent of a daughter with autism.

Sherry Ahrentzen, PhD, is Shimberg Professor of Housing Studies at University of Florida. Her work on housing for underserved populations has created a rigorous body of research that has influenced design, policy and practice.


A research-informed approach for housing design;

Quality of life design goals;

Design guidelines;

On the horizon.