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Katie is a designer whose work celebrates neuro-diversity and whose research explores how design can improve living environments for autistic adults.

Katie is a Design Researcher and has spent over 14 years working with neurodivergent people, who may have a unique way of thinking and experiencing the world. Her research largely investigates how design can improve the physical environment for autistic people. Katie develops tools that connect, communicate and engage with autistic people and their support network, to enable them to be active participants in the design research.

Katie is the first Research Associate to have completed a PhD by practice at the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design. The PhD explored how autistic adults with additional learning difficulties experience their home environment. Katie has since put her ideas into practice in a wide variety of contexts, such as supported living accommodation, workplaces, sensory environments, educational institutions, health clinics, and hospitals. Her work has been published and presented internationally.

Katie’s research has broadened the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design’s methods and practices to consider hidden disabilities and neurodiversity (such as autism and mental health) for the first time. Katie encourages designers to collaborate with neurodivergent people, whose unique ideas for innovation can be easily overlooked.