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Design for 2E Special Needs Kids - the Quad Prepartory School

JCA is working with the Quad Preparatory School on their relocation from the modest basement of a synagogue into a bright, beautiful new space on Pine Street in Manhattan's financial district. The Quad is a school for "2E" kids. These "Twice Exceptional" students all have amazing talents, and also serious obstacles to overcome. As a parent of a 2E high schooler I am learning more about the challenges and rewards of raising a 2E kid every day.  I am so pleased to bring some of my insights as both an architect and a parent to the fitout at Pine Street.  

2E is a relatively recent term, and most people don't know what it means. In my son's case, 2E means incredible skills in math, coupled with the major social deficits and anxiety that can come with his diagnose of Autism Spectrum Disorder. The Quad's space is different from a typical school because instruction is one-on-one in academic subjects. This means lots of small spaces for intense instruction, coupled with spaces for collaboration and spaces for alone time. Many 2E kids are easily overwhelmed by sensory input -- which can include sounds, smells, and tactile things that most people can easily tolerate -- while at the same time craving such input in certain circumstances. The Quad space needs to meet all these requirements.