by Jenny Wise
If your child is on the autism spectrum, your parenting style may look different. Children with autism have different needs, requiring more protective home interiors and backyards. Since children with autism can be sensitive to a wide variety of sights, smells, and sounds, it is particularly important to design their bedroom in such a way that it is a peaceful, relaxing place, free of potentially triggering stimuli. Here are some ways you can design and organize the perfect bedroom for your child on the autism spectrum.
Choose a color scheme that soothes your child
The main thing you should be aware of when designing a bedroom for your child with autism is that many children on the autism spectrum experience significant amounts of sensory sensitivity, though the exact amounts and characteristics of that sensitivity are highly individual. For some children, bright colors like the boldest versions of warm reds and yellows can be triggering. Red, in particular, is stimulating color and might leave her awake and energetic well past bedtime. The goal of a child’s bedroom, as with any bedroom, is to create a calm, peaceful space where she can feel safe and comfortable as she prepares to go to sleep. A good rule of thumb is to design your child’s bedroom around soft, soothing colors. Light blues and neutral tones like gray and cream are calming, and that is the tone you want to set. Finally, be sure to choose a paint that is non-toxic and VOC free to keep surfaces easy to wash and safe for your child in the event that she develops the habit of licking surfaces.
Don’t forget to keep the soothing theme going in their bathroom. Choose a tile that’s neutral in color and avoid bold patterns and color breaks. The paint should likewise be as soft as possible since their nighttime bath is likely an important part of their winding down routine.
Ensure your child has clean air to breathe
It’s important to make sure the air your child is breathing in her room is fresh and free from contaminants. However, this is not as simple as installing a garden-variety air freshener because many children with autism are particularly sensitive to smells -- this forum illustrates how severe the issues is. One poster compares being exposed to strong smells as being locked in a port-a-potty; others insist that overpowering perfumes make it almost impossible to function.
Instead, opt for a scentless option like an air purifier. Particularly if you or anyone in the house is a smoker, an air purifier is a great way to eliminate odors and potential contaminants like smoke or allergens from the air to ensure your child experiences a great night’s sleep. As an added bonus, purifiers also will increase your child’s health in general and can emit a low-level hum that your child may find soothing.
Keep the room soft, safe, and functional
As you are organizing and decorating the room, keep your child’s safety in mind. Opting for a frameless bed will help eliminate sharp corners and prevent accidents. Reduce clutter with plenty of low-level organizational options, pushing bookcases and other furniture back against the walls to provide a large amount of space for your child to play. Add a soft but easily cleaned carpet to make play safer for your child. Depending on your child’s needs, preferences, and age, you may want to include other pieces of furniture in addition to the bed like a bean bag chair, small chairs, or a balance ball.
You’ll also need to consider the lighting in your child’s bedroom. Incandescent or the softest, warmest form of LED light is best. LED is particularly beneficial because they don’t get as hot as traditional bulbs. (Be careful, though, when choosing LED lights to make sure they are warm enough for your child’s needs.) Fluorescent lights are not ideal for bedrooms in general; they often rapidly flicker and emit a strong buzz. Your child with autism may be sensitive to both of these, which can add to her stress levels instead of relieving them.
Designing a bedroom for your child on the autism spectrum doesn’t have to be difficult. With a few changes, you can design a bedroom that provides a safe, soothing haven for your child. By keeping in mind your child’s individual needs, and using soft, safe colors and pieces of furniture in your design, you will ensure your child can rest comfortably.
Photo Credit: pixabay.com
Tile Installer, guitar player, universe explorer.