Some individuals who identify as neurodivergent may prefer trails with specific characteristics that reduce stimulation and increase ease of use.
- Creating a trail loop can be a great way to create a predictable safe trail.
- Consider using different surface materials to provide clear trail wayfinding, for example, the main loop trail is paved, and the spur trail is gravel.
- Offer different modes of communication on signage, for example text, icons, colour-coding and numbering.
- Use language that is clear and easy to understand.
- To reduce stimuli, use nature-inspired colours to reduce contrast with the environment. Try to avoid using bright colours that stand out.
- When designing features along the trail, utilize natural materials that blend in with their surroundings, such as logs and boulders for seating.
- Create quiet sitting areas away from the main trail so trail users can decompress in nature while becoming familiar with the sights and sounds of the environment.
- Consider creating different zones off the trail that encourage specific activity, for example, a play zone, a design zone, and a quiet zone.
- Create consistency, predictability, and patterns throughout the trail, for example signage at the same predictable location on different sections of trail.
Tip: Engage community members with lived experience and local organizations to participate in every stage of your project.
To find out more about The Autism Nature Trail, please visit: www.autismnaturetrail.com
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