Creating a safe and comfortable environment for a family member on the autism spectrum is a critical piece of the puzzle. While there’s increasing pressure on architects and contractors to develop autistic-friendly buildings, much of the effort comes from family members who have to make adjustments after an autism diagnosis.
Here is a closer look at five sensory-sensitive home modifications that can help your child feel more comfortable at home.
Change Your Lighting
Children with autism may find it difficult to process visual input. Light and colors can be off-putting. You may have to change the bulbs within your home. You may have to pick hues that are as close to natural light as possible.
Avoid lights that flicker and those that make buzz sounds. Investing in dimmable lighting makes it easier to adjust the light to a more comfortable level for your child. Consider window tinting or anti-glare coatings to prevent glare from sunlight, digital screens, or reflective hard surfaces.
Add Proper Ventilation
People with autism may have a stronger sense of smell than neurotypicals. Scents and aromas can trigger distress and meltdowns. You may need to invest in a good HVAC unit with certified HEPA filters. Carry out regular furnace repair and inspection if you have one.
You may have to avoid air fresheners and chemical scents. Additionally, pick low-order finishing and building supplies for your home renovations.
Create a Sensory Room
You can make your home tactile-friendly for your child by building a sensory room. You can convert your basement or garage to a room containing all the sensory materials your child may need.
You can opt to incorporate these changes into your child’s bedroom if you have limited space. Think of adding a swing, bubble tubs, ball pit, and bean bags. You can reserve a portion of the room as a cool-down area for when your child experiences a meltdown.
Invest in Sound-absorbing Insulation Around the House
Parents of children with autism may need to pay attention to the sounds in the home. You can start by investing in high-quality rugs that minimize the noise from footsteps. Sound-proofing your windows and doors can minimize outdoor sounds. Consider an extra layer of drywall. You can focus your efforts on your child’s bedroom first before expanding to other areas in the home.
Add more Locks and Door Alarms
Safety remains a key concern for family members with autism. 49% of parents of a child with ASD indicate that their child attempted to wander or run away at least once after the age of 4. 53% say the children were missing long enough to make the parents worried.
You may need to invest in proximity and door alarms that can alert you when your child attempts to leave home. You can also add more locks and deadbolts to your doors. Tamper-proof locks or barriers on the windows may deter your kid from climbing out of the house without your knowledge.
You may need to make several changes in your lifestyle after the autism diagnosis. Prepping your home to make it more comfortable for your child may be the first step to take. Use the tips above to make your home environment safer and more sensory-sensitive for your loved one.
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