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Adapting Participatory Design Activities for Autistic Adults: A Review

Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNISA,volume 12780)


This paper presents a literature review investigating the suitability of participatory design when conducted with autistic adults. Six relevant papers were discovered, with key information extracted prior to analysis. A thematic analysis revealed six core themes of adaptations and considerations to be made when working with autistic adults: (1) appropriate approaches and methodology, (2) individual differences, (3) flexibility, (4) communication, (5) environment and sensory issues and (6) challenge assumptions. Overall, it was found that participatory design is a suitable method for use with autistic adults, providing careful adjustments are made to some or all of the design activities to ensure their accessibility and effectiveness. It is important that researchers and practitioners have sufficient autism understanding to make these adjustments, and that they invest time to get to know the autistic people involved in their study.


  • Autism
  • Participatory design
  • Human-centered design
  • Co-design
  • User-centered design

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Maun, R., Fabri, M., Trevorrow, P. (2021). Adapting Participatory Design Activities for Autistic Adults: A Review. In: Soares, M.M., Rosenzweig, E., Marcus, A. (eds) Design, User Experience, and Usability: Design for Diversity, Well-being, and Social Development. HCII 2021. Lecture Notes in Computer Science(), vol 12780. Springer, Cham.

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