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Jefferson Health's outpatient facility Honickman Center is a rarefied world of sensory sensitivity

A preview of Jefferson Health's new outpatient facility Honickman Center
A preview of Jefferson Health's new outpatient facility Honickman Center 02:15

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A new medical facility in Philadelphia is making a doctor's trip less stressful. Jefferson Health's new outpatient facility, the Honickman Center, is a state-of-the-art facility.

Along with all the latest medical equipment, there are special design features that help keep visitors calm.

A trip to the Honickman Center is a journey into a rarified world of sensory sensitivity.

"There's a lot of accommodations in this building to help people relax, calm down," said Dr. Wendy Ross, director of Jefferson's Center for Autism and Neurodiversity.

The hallways are filled with scenes of nature and there are spaces designed for people who are neurodiverse, diagnosed with conditions like autism and ADHD, who can become anxious in unfamiliar settings.

"I think it's really special because so often our population is an afterthought or an accommodation but our population was invited to participate in aspects of this building from the very beginning," Ross said.

She said things like textured walls can be a comforting distraction.


"It feels good when you touch it so the tactile element is really nice for calming," Ross said.

There's specialty seating with raised sides to provide privacy.


"Helps me to relax or be calm," Tom Dealy said.

Dealy is with Carousel Connections, a group that works with people on the spectrum who helped with design. The chairs also include bumpy hand pads.

"They feel good," Luke McGivern-Cowan said.

The waiting rooms have special art installations.


"When you view it, it looks like the painting is moving it looks like it's come to life," said Lyn Godley, Department of Industrial Design director of Jefferson's Center of Immersive Arts for Health. "When you engage someone in an immersive experience it kind of transports them, it takes them out of their present moment."

Doctors said specialized designs can be calming for anyone in a medical setting. Welcome to the new age of inclusive design.

"The accommodations we made here were designed for people with developmental challenges like autism or other neurodiverse conditions but really benefit everybody," Ross said.

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