Body and Mind: How Neurodiversity Is Expanding Our Approach To Inclusive Design [HSW]

It is undeniable that our world is made up of people with different sizes, shapes, levels of mobility, sensory needs, variations in cognitive processing and communication styles as well as cultural backgrounds and practices. Yet, as an industry, we have only recently begun to ramp up our efforts to design for these underserved populations more meaningfully within our public and workspaces through Inclusive Design efforts. Inclusive Design focuses on "one size fits one" through flexibility and choice to create environments that are healthier, safer, easier, more convenient, and more comfortable for everyone. To this end, it is important to investigate whether the choices and degree of flexibility provided are good choices and for whom. This program will take a deeper dive into Inclusive Design strategies for neurodivergent people, with a focus on sensory design. Knowing that an estimated 15-20% of the global population exhibits some form of neurodivergence and knowing that the prevalence of neurodiversity is only expected to rise, it's increasingly critical to understand how all spaces could be more inclusive of those who are neurodivergent. Research tells us that for many who are neurodivergent, spatial stimuli can contribute to either stress and anxiety or support focus and productivity. We'll explore differences in the ways we process information in our environments and the implications for built space. As an industry, we've only just started to uncover the impact of our design decisions on the experiences of those who are neurodivergent. We'll highlight current gaps in interior design, review sensory-based design strategies for addressing those gaps, and discuss where we believe the future of designing for neurodiversity is headed. Attendees will walk away from the program with a better understanding of Inclusive Design strategies, through the lens of sensory design, to create more effective spaces for ALL.

*In-person sessions will be recorded and available on-demand starting Monday, June 17.

Amie Keener, RID, IIDA, LEED AP

Design Manager


Amie T. Keener, RID, IIDA, LEED AP is a registered Interior Designer and Senior Associate at Gensler, a global architecture, design, and planning firm widely recognized as a leading collaborative design firm. Amie is a graduate of Kansas State University, where she achieved a Bachelor of Interior Architecture with specialties in furniture and product design. With more than 25 years of experience in the commercial building industry, Amie’s professional career is a dynamic blend of commercial interiors projects for energy, automotive, financial services, technology, government, and professional services firms. Currently, her focus is on furniture services, where she develops and implements furniture standards for clients, such as Devon, Cenovus, Shell, Sewell Automotive Group, Texas Instruments, Nokia, First United Bank, and Jackson Walker. With Amie’s diverse experience and creativity, she has the unique ability to simplify the contract furniture process and excels at providing guidance and logical results to support her clients and brings valuable knowledge and positive solutions to the built environment. Throughout her life, Amie has enjoyed an active lifestyle with gymnastics, cheerleading and long-distance running. After experiencing mysterious hip pain in 2014, It was determined a damaged hamstring combined with a genetic issue conspired to create a situation requiring two hip surgeries. During recovery, Amie spent several weeks confined with a brace and crutches and with years of physical therapy afterward which changed her way of experiencing and designing spaces. For more than a decade, she has been an advocate for inclusive design and has spearheaded several research projects centered around inclusive design solutions. Amie serves as co-leader of Gensler’s Firmwide Inclusive Design Network. Contact her for strategies to make interior spaces and furniture solutions more inclusive for all to thrive and enjoy.

Meaghan Beever, DDes, LEED AP ID+C

Design Strategist


Meaghan Beever, DDes, is a Strategist at Gensler specializing in user-centered, applied design research. With more than 15 years of experience conducting both academic and practice-based research, she approaches each of her projects with a discovery mindset. Before joining Gensler, Meaghan was a research scientist at the University of Kansas Medical Center’s Cognitive Neuroscience Lab where she worked on NIH-funded research with children with developmental disabilities. In 2022, Meaghan received a Gensler Research and Innovation Award for her client work in neurodiversity research. She is currently co-leading a research grant awarded by the Gensler Research Institute on the topic of neurodiversity in the workplace.

Kirima Isler, CPABE L1

Design Strategist

Gensler Architecture & Design (Canada)

Kirima Isler, CPABE L1, is a strategist at Gensler with over five years’ experience specializing in accessibility and inclusive design for architectural and design projects across various sectors. Kirima’s work ranges from building inclusive design guidelines, to performing accessibility assessments of existing workplaces, to reviewing project work throughout the design process to assess its alignment with inclusive design goals. With a background in History and Peace & Conflict Research, Kirima approaches design as a tangible way to address patterns of exclusion and inequity in our everyday practices and built environment and leverages her background in research to champion experience-based strategies throughout the design process.

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