Children on the Autism Spectrum need special consideration for many reasons. They have special dietary needs, different learning abilities, and particular play requirements. That’s why home should be a safe haven, particularly their bedrooms. With a few simple modifications, you can provide your child with the right space for respite.
Bright colors can be over-stimulating to children on the autism spectrum. Consider using calming colors in blue, green, and gray palettes. Your child may say that red is his favorite color, but limit that to an accent color. Gray walls and navy bedding with red throw pillows and a red beanbag chair can be just the comfy environment he needs. Grass green may be too bold, but pale green on the walls and a bright green throw on the bed may work for your daughter’s calm room.
Bright light can be a major sensory issue for children on the autism spectrum. Consider having different types of lighting in your child’s room: a faint light by the bed, a brighter light on a desk or work area, and a small night light if necessary. Adjustable lighting is also a great option. In certain cases, some children also benefit from light therapy.
Choosing bedding can be tricky due to fabric sensitivity. Some children may prefer silky fabrics, while others want a knit fabric, like a T-shirt or sweatshirt. Let your child feel sheets and blankets before you purchase anything, but if that’s overly stimulating, ask what their favorite piece of clothing is and buy something similar. A weighted blanket can also help kids who need sensory pressure to sleep well.
Mattress composition is also important. An overly active child might do best with a memory foam mattress that he can sink into, rather than a bouncy bed that might encourage him to jump.
Clutter can be problematic for children with autism. If cutting down on the clutter isn’t an option because your kid can’t let go of his 10,000 LEGO pieces, invest in clear storage bins. Bins with photo labels make organizing easy, and your child can help sort stuffed animals, action figures and crayons into various containers.
Add a cube bookcase to your child’s room, and use baskets to corral their clutter. Let your child decide how to organize the toys. Is it sufficient for everything to be in a basket, up off the floor? Or does your child need everything in a specific place, with like items together? Rather than impose your organization plan on your child, let them be part of the process.
Many children with autism have sensory issues leaving them sensitive to smells and pollutants.
Limit your use of air fresheners, unless it’s something homemade with a mild scent. Also consider using an air purifier and investing in higher-quality air filters for your HVAC system.
For example, a MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) 11 air filter will block out more than 95 percent of harmful airborne particles. These filters help rid your home of mold and pollen, which creates a healthier space for everyone.
Some children respond well to the ability to cocoon in their room. Hang a swing chair from a ceiling or add a comfy pile of pillows inside a tent to help her get some quiet time away from too much stimulation. If you can’t create this area in your child’s room, consider providing a space like this elsewhere in your home, or let their bed double as a sleeping space and a cocoon. Hang a mosquito net from the ceiling, then push it behind the headboard or off to the side for bedtime, and wrap it around the bed at night for quiet time.
Designing a bedroom for a child with autism requires some creative planning. With the right approach tailored to your child’s specific needs, you can provide them with a bedroom that provides comfort and calm.
Author: Jenny Wise – firstname.lastname@example.org