Creating special spaces

As a mother of an adult son with Autism and other challenges and the Principal of Purple Cherry Architects, Cathy Purple Cherry’s gift is successfully impacting built environments for children and adults with special needs. Through her creative process, she develops warm, inviting and supportive places for these individuals.

CONSULTING: As a Special Needs Architectural Consultant, Cathy provides design support to the building owner, the user or to come alongside a local architecture firm and assist in the development of any project. She can be involved at strategic times during the design process to have the most powerful impact on the success of the program. Services can include site assessment, programming, master planning, feasibility studies, concept design, interiors finish selection, coordination with Acoustical and Sensory consultants, toxicity review, construction documents review, and development of marketing materials for fundraising efforts. She can also walk through an existing building and provide direction for modifications that will improve the success of the environment. In addition, she is available for speaking engagements regarding design strategies to implement within built environments.

Together with her architecture firm, Purple Cherry Architects, Cathy works as a Special Needs Architect at a national level. Her architecture firm is also available to do complete projects from land assessment through master planning, building design, and development to construction administration.

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS, WORKSHOPS, AND SEMINARS: Drawing on her personal experiences and professional expertise, Cathy delivers keynote addresses and motivational speeches, leads sessions and workshops, and conducts seminars and training sessions on a variety of topics related to special needs design and autism. Audiences include parents, individuals on the autism spectrum, caretakers, educators/school administrators, architects, and more.

  • Strategies for School Environments: Cathy is an expert in coordinating and leading key workshops with staff targeting various issues such as Personal Space, Wayfinding, Adjacencies, Classroom Studies, Social Nodes and Sensory/Tactile Issues.
  • Strategies for Home Environments:  Cathy provides information on a variety of design strategies for both home and school environments for children on the autism spectrum that can be applied to help parents, caretakers and teachers create environments that reduce conflict and encourage a more successful living and learning situation.
  • Raising Autism™: Understanding the autism experience extends well beyond the individual on the spectrum, Cathy discusses how to turn the challenges presented by raising a family that includes a child on the spectrum into successes.  Daily challenges within various environments are openly discussed and real time solutions, informed by her knowledge as a mother, special needs architect, and Certified Autism Specialist, are identified.  Charismatic, compassionate, and exceptionally knowledgeable, Cathy provides a much needed dose of humor to a very serious subject.