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Eleventh Passwerk Award for Ruben Bamps

At Passwerk, we are dedicated to promoting research and initiatives that improve the quality of life and inclusion of people with autism. We are always looking for ways to expand our impact, not only within our organisation but also in broader society.


Recently, we awarded the eleventh Passwerk Award to Ruben Bamps, who graduated with a Master’s degree in Engineering: Architecture. His master's thesis was titled: "How to make the campus life more comfortable for students on the spectrum? Focussing on the KU Leuven built environment." His thesis contributes to the living, social, and working conditions of people with autism and aims to destigmatise autism, one of the criteria for the Passwerk Award.


Summary of the master's thesis:

"Attending university presents various challenges such as independent living and being away from familiar environments and people. For students with autism, these challenges are often more significant due to their specific ways of thinking and interpreting the world. This research aims to understand their student experience and identify spatial aspects that influence it. Participatory methods were used to explore the experiences of five autistic students at KU Leuven. Once the results were gathered and analysed, a student organisation was invited to discuss the research findings and suggest ways to make their events more autism-friendly. The researcher and participants then attended these events to assess their experiences. The study found that attention to signage, material use, and spaces for retreat significantly impact the experiences of autistic students. Furthermore, the study suggests that listening to and learning from autistic students could help design a better environment for everyone."


At Passwerk, we value the NAUWU principle (Nothing About Us Without Us), which is also a selection criterion for the Passwerk Award. This research not only identifies challenges but also focuses on finding solutions by actively listening to and learning from autistic students themselves. By integrating their perspectives into the design process, we can better support people with autism and create a more inclusive and diverse environment that benefits all students.


Initiatives like the Passwerk Award reflect our commitment to a world where everyone has the opportunity to achieve their full potential, regardless of their neurodiversity.

Nico De Cleen shakes the hand of winner Ruben Bamps


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