By Leigh Marcos
Today, more than 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Studies reveal that nearly 1 in 6 children have a developmental disability that ranges from speech and language impairments to serious developmental disabilities.
Over the past decade, more investment in autism research has been focused on child development and the potential strategies to help improve autistic people’s lives.
While there is no one-size-fits-all, designing an autistic-friendly home requires a well-thought out plan. Furthermore, while there is no set requirement on how to properly design a home for autistic children, we’ve constructed a list of 4 autism-friendly home design ideas which may help children to thrive.
Add Stimulating Furniture
Simple yet exciting furniture like swings can help calm a child who becomes overstimulated. Using heavy drapes will help muffle noise and drown out distractions from outside. This will invite activity within the room. Using the right colors can help stimulate various moods and provide calmness. Additions of beanbag chairs, climbing mats and small trampolines can assist with sensory integration needs for autistic children.
Block Outside Stimulation in Dining Rooms
Some children with autism have difficulty with eating solid food. This can be due to physical ailments or sensory reaction to food which need to be addressed before looking at environmental factors. Ways to alter the environment to help a child digest their food including eliminating excess stimulation to help reduce disturbances and allowing them to focus on chewing and swallowing their meals. For children who have food issues, try not to associate the dining area with other activities and limit conversation during meal time.
Build a Sensory Garden
Building an accessible garden can motivate and create sensory stimulation for children. Providing a healthy sensory environment allows children to ground themselves within nature. There are many benefits to therapeutic horticulture. Gardening allows children to connect to the natural rhythms of life. It allows them to connect with something much larger than themselves.
Provide a Restful Bedroom for Optimal Sleeping
Insomnia and sleepless nights are major topics in the autism community. The child sleeping arrangements can make all the difference due to several environmental factors. Ways to help insomnia include blocking out distractions by including blackout curtains, putting away toys, painting the walls in soothing colors, converting to natural light sources, and using the bedroom specifically for sleeping.
When it comes to shopping for autistic-friendly furniture and designs, families can benefit from using online resources such as Pinterest to help find inspiration. From creating calm spaces to sensory friendly gardens, you can find plenty of useful tools with online help.
Have you modified your home or garden to make it more autism friendly? Please add your ideas in the comments below.