Designing For Wellness - Essential Design Terms 2024

Designing For Wellness - Essential Design Terms 2024

In an effort to help improve literacy around neuroinclusion, pioneering biophilic designer and author, Susie Frazier, compiled a list of 2024 Essential Design Terms and the noteworthy leaders educating us about them. (Download the PDF here.)

"Understanding there is an exchange between ourselves and everything in the world around us is one of the most important themes to be explored in the coming year. The next frontier of design is about neuroinclusion, biophilic living, and sensory experiences.”

– Susie Frazier, WELL AP, WELL Faculty, Next Frontier of Design Winner, International WELL Building Institute

BIOPHILIC DESIGN, according to Oliver Heath is a “design strategy that takes into account the spontaneous tendency of humans to feel good in the midst of nature.”

DESIGN INCLUSION according to Henry Gifford is the kind that doesn’t ignore experts in teh field, no matter what part of the industry they come from.

We are all NEURODIVERSE from each other, “Like a person’s fingerprint, no two brains - not even those of identical twins are exactly the same,” according to Cleveland Clinic.

NEURODIVERSITY a term, coined by Judy Singer, “refers to the fact that no 2 mind-bodies can ever be identical. I coined it specifically to suggest a name for the emerging rights movement for neurological minorities who had common cause, and as an addition to the intersections of class, ethnicity, gender etc.”

NEUROREALISM, also coined by Judy Singer, 25 years after she coined neurodiversity, is “about recognising that all humans are imperfect, and that it is society’s task to create humane niches for everyone, whether they are social, asocial or antisocial.” Shared directly to Susie from Judy on 5/4/24; See also

NEURODIVERGENT, coined by Kassiane Asasumasu, is a term that refers more  to neurologically divergent than neurotypical. It’s not a medical or clinical term, but an identity: “This includes Autistic people, ADHD people, people with learning disabilities, epileptic people, people with mental illnesses, people with MS or Parkinsons or apraxia or cerebral palsy or dyspraxia, or no specific diagnosis but wonky lateralization or something. It is not another damn tool of exclusion. It is specifically a tool of inclusion.”

According to Sonny Jane Wise, this term often exists in opposition to the word “disorder” because it’s about acknowledging that we aren’t disordered. We diverge.

NEUROINCLUSION, coined by Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw, is the term used to describe how race, class, gender, and other individual characteristics “intersect” with one another and overlap.

NEUROINCLUSIVE PRACTICES invite curiosity, according to Jennifer Alumbaugh, MSc, around the differences we may experience with coworkers, colleagues, and bosses as we interact with them, rather than making assumptions about certain traits like eye contact, direct communication, doodling or other activity during meetings, or spending time alone away from co-workers.





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