A home is more than just the physical place you reside in. It can also provide comfort, peace, joy, and love. Some people have created lucrative careers out of decorating homes to elicit exactly those feelings. Things like furniture placement, wall color, décor items, and various textiles all contribute to the feeling of your home. Unfortunately, some of these designs and décor, however, can unintentionally cause stress and overstimulation to a child with autism. Let’s look at how to incorporate certain design elements to create a safe and peaceful environment for your child.
An often-overlooked aspect of the safety of your home is the quality and cleanliness of the air. When you think of air pollutants, you may conjure up an image of smoggy cityscape or a cloud of cigarette smoke. According to CNBC, indoor air pollutants may be more dangerous than outdoor air pollutants. It is important for your child’s health to keep the air inside their bedroom as clean and pollutant-free as possible. You can purchase an air purifier to keep directly in their room. Additionally, you can ensure that your entire home has clean air by regularly changing the air filter in your HVAC system. When replacing the filter, be sure to purchase the proper size to fit your unit. You can find the filters at your local hardware store or online, and you can even use a subscription service to always have one available.
The focus when designing your child’s bedroom is to create a safe and relaxing space where your child feels secure and peaceful. Children with autism can experience sensory overload and emotional stress in spaces that are cluttered or visually overstimulating. Keep their bedrooms simple and spacious by positioning all furniture against the walls, leaving open play space in the middle. Utilize storage systems to reduce toy clutter and keep the surface areas clear. You can also add sensory-friendly furniture, like a swing, to give your child a place to relax. To ensure your child’s safety, securely attach all furniture to the walls to prevent them from tipping over.
Stick to Neutrals and Blues
One of the first things you often notice when you enter a room is the color – color of the walls, of the furniture, and of the décor items. Certain colors can elicit specific emotions, and for a child with autism, that reaction can be more intense and potentially harmful. For example, colors like red can increase agitation and violence. In order to create a calming environment for your child’s bedroom, use the lighter shades of colors like blue, green, or purple. Soft neutrals can help reduce visual stimulation and are a good choice for the rest of your home as well.
In addition to your child’s bedroom, you can make small adjustments throughout your entire home. The kitchen is full of potential hazards, some of them life-threatening. Some safety precautions you can easily implement are adding locks to all cabinet doors and drawers, putting away all dangerous appliances and knife blocks, and installing an induction stovetop to eliminate accessible gas knobs. Another room to consider is your child’s bathroom. You may want to consider installing grab bars on the bathtub wall to help your child maintain balance while standing up. Safety is a primary concern in both rooms. And don’t forget your outdoor living spaces. Simple additions, like a sandbox or bubble station, can provide a sensory experience for your child.
Science Daily says creating a safe and predictable world will help enhance future coping ability for children with autism. It can seem overwhelming to overhaul your entire home but focusing on safety and simplicity will help you get started. Wall color, safety locks, reduced clutter, and clean air all contribute to a safe and peaceful environment in your home. With these tips, you can help your child relax from over-stimulation and experience safety and security in their home.
Author: Jenny Wise
Photo Credit: Pexels