Autism is a disability that impacts on how individuals experience the world and connect with others. According to the National Autistic Society, over 1 in 100 people have autism. Anybody can be autistic and experience it more or less severely.
One characteristic that many autistic people have is an over- or under-sensitivity to light, touch, colour, sound and temperature. Low and high sensory stimulation can sometimes cause people with autism significant discomfort. This is especially true designed for autistic children.
Sensory sensitivity is a reason why lots of people that have or know autistic children choose to make special modifications to their home. Many of these are easy to do and can help children cope with sensory imbalance.
If you have or know autistic children, read on to find out 4 ways to modify your home for autistic children.
1. Create soft lighting and acoustics
One thing you can do to modify your home is alter your lighting. If you have strong, bright lighting, try replacing it with soft and natural light. This is more likely to create a relaxed and focused environment for autistic children.
It’s also a good plan to pay attention to your home acoustics. Try modifying echoey spaces by adding soft furniture, carpets, rugs and curtains. These will soak up and soften noises, making these places more comfortable areas for autistic children to be.
2. Assign areas for specific activities
Another way to modify your home for autistic children is to assign areas for specific activities. Some autistic children can find it hard to eat and sleep, which can be upsetting for both them and their carers. Designating particular spaces for these activities will help them to prepare for and settle into the activity.
For instance, if you usually eat in the dining room, alter it so this is the only room you eat in and move equipment for other activities to other rooms. Doing this will help children to focus on eating and make it less likely that they’ll get sidetracked.
You can do this in other areas of your home too. Make sure that bedrooms are only for sleeping in and that any workspace is where children do quiet, concentrated activities. You can make a fun space as well, where children know that they can enjoy creative and lively activities.
3. Colour-code your rooms
Colour is something that autistic children can be particularly sensitive to. Studies suggest that colour and mood are closely related and this link can be particularly relevant for children with autism.
So if you can, try to link your room colour with the activity that usually happens there. Paint children’s bedrooms dark colors to reduce light reflection and encourage sleep. Use lots of bright colours in fun activity areas and gentle, cool colors in any work areas. Blue is an especially good choice since it’s been claimed to be both relaxing and promote creativity.
4. Include sensory integration tools
Sensory integration tools can be very good for children with autism. These are mainly household objects that can offer children enjoyable sensory stimulation. They are especially helpful for autistic children who need to self-calm after experiencing sensory overload.
There are several places in your home where you can add in a couple of sensory tools. Put a massage jet in your bath and big pillows and heavy blankets in bedrooms and relaxing spaces. Slot in a rocking chair or two you can or a swing if you’re feeling adventurous. Other good tools include slides, climbing frames and mini-trampolines.
So if you wish to transform your home into a better place for autistic children to be, there are lots of ways to do so. A few little changes could make the world of difference and turn your home into a better environment for any small autistic visitors or inhabitants and everyone else.