Gheel Autism Services provides day services for adults with autism. While residents are in the day centres they enjoy taking part in structured day activities which include vocational, social, community and leisure skills and personal time. More importantly, these day services allow people with autism to fulfil their lives in a way that meets their individual needs.
With autism heightened reactions to even small changes in the acoustic environment and abnormal behaviors in response to auditory stimuli are frequently observed. Therefore it is important that the acoustic environment in the day centre reflects this. Gheel recognised that they had a problem with their canteen and reception area which were both acoustically highly reflective leading to an elevated reverberation time.
We estimated that the existing reverberation time was in the region of 2.1 seconds. Given the nature of the centre and the need to reduce acoustic stimuli as much as possible we targetted a reverberation time of 0.8 seconds. It was decided to install 19.5m2 of dB Acoustic Absorption Panels to the ceiling and 8.5m2 to the walls to achieve this. The results were noticed immmediately with care workers commenting that the reduced reverberation time had led to a “calmer” and “more relaxed” environment for all as residents were less likly to become distressed as a result of poor room acoustics.