A new and original colour combination for ADHD schools
A very conspicuous and very mysterious combination of colours
and structures meets the eye when you enter the large classrooms at the specialized
school for ADHD children, ‘The School in Charlottegard’ in Copenhagen.
All the walls have the same colour combinations of peach, amber, lemon and light
grey in different and specific sizes. On the middle of the wall and all the
way around the room is a precisely measured box arrangement in light blue and
peach. This very specific design is not only made to please the eye, but is
custom-made to enhance concentration and learning abilities in children suffering
from ADHD, also known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Topaz spoke with the architect behind the decoration of the ADHD rooms, Marianne
T. Nielsen from Template-Stiftelsen, in Denmark.
is the story behind the ADHD project?
The ADHD colour combination was incorporated in the rebuilding of the teaching
facilities at the specialized school in Charlottegard, which took place during
the summer of 2001. The purpose of the building development was to optimize
the ADHD students’ learning conditions, to maximise opportunities for
individual teaching and to enhance the social conditions.
It was necessary to do extensive rebuilding to change the physical framework
of the area in question. This meant creating a small kitchen, building four
classrooms, bringing in glass partitions, the introduction of individual workplaces
and other ideas. The decoration with specific colour combinations is the most
important element of the whole rebuilding, and it is a recurrent theme throughout
all the rebuilt rooms, including the kitchen and on cupboards and doors.
did the idea of ADHD colour combinations come from?
When I began the task of planning the re-building I saw the possibility for
creating something very special that was not only pleasant to look at but also
had a functional value, and in which colour could play a decisive part in the
teaching of ADHD children. Through my contacts in the Template Network I co-operated
with The Plasma Team, an innovative research think tank in Israel. For some
time now they have had great success with their exploration into the influence
of colour and much of their expertise concerning colour was put to practical
use at the ADHD school.
I also undertook a thorough research into ADHD and how it expresses itself
in children. Children suffering ADHD are very restless and fidgety; they are
impulsive and have difficulty concentrating longer than for a few minutes. They
are easily distracted by things and are very noisy. They react very aggressively
to change, as an example, if something has been moved from its customary place.
When teaching began in the rebuilt classrooms none of the children reacted
aggressively to the changes, which was the first positive indication that the
project might be effective to some extent.
18 months after the completion of the building project the schoolteachers,
in co-operation with the education council and an associated psychologist, evaluated
the whole project. The reports give an exceedingly favourable impression of
the project, stating that, as a result, there is less conflict, more peace and
concentration, greater contentment and agressiveness is quickly quietened.
There is a pronounced professional development in the youngest student group,
a greater acceptance between the children and more resolve amongst the children
to help themselves. The children also display more confidence and personal enterprise
would you evaluate the ADHD project?
Some time after the project was completed, I paid a visit to the ADHD rooms
with a test group to undertake my own research into how the colour combinations
influence people. Some of the participants were blindfolded before entering
the room, others were not. Each person jotted down his or her reactions and
feelings prompted by the colour combinations. When we compared results the similarities
were striking. As an example, everyone described how they felt anaesthetized
from the neck downwards, at the same time having a very clear focus in the head
and an enhanced ability to concentrate.
I believe that the importance of colour is vastly underrated. The effect of
the ADHD combinations is impressive, and it is not only children with ADHD that
can profit by this, for its implications are enormous.
The science behind the ADHD colour combinations comes out of years of research
undertaken by various groupings within the Template Network around the world.
This involves researching how different colours, structures, forms, shapes and
also letters influence our environment and our quality of life. As one example,
the light grey colour in the ADHD combination is a settling colour, quietening
extrovert activities, and making it a good colour to use when one wishes to
deliberate upon something.
Interview by Rolf Christoffersen