Got some really helpful and interesting advice from several articles:here, here and here. Autistic children have different needs from other kids, and since a bedroom is their own space, it’s important to take into consideration their needs to personalize it. Here are 9 tips we compiled from the 3 articles and we added a few of our own as well. Read on....
1. On Colours: Opt for lighter shades of your child's favourite colours. Strong colours may overstimulate your child, unsettling them even in their own personal space. You can even take into consideration his/her favourite activities and use colours that remind him/her of it. (for eg: swimming and blue/aqua)
2. On the environment: Create a calm one. Simple decor, nature sounds (waves, raindrops) and nature pictures. Got this idea from The Reason I Jump, a fabulous book by Naoki Higashida. In it, he says he loves nature and I quote
“... for me the number one reason is that us people with autism love the greenness of nature.
... Our fondness for nature is, I think, a little bit different to everyone else's. I'm guessing that what touches you in nature is the beauty of the trees and the flowers and things. But to us people with special needs, nature is as important as our own lives. The reason is that when we look at nature, we receive a sort of permission to be alive in this world, and our entire bodies get recharged. However often, we're ignored and pushed away by other people, nature will always give us a good big hug, here inside our hearts."
The calm environment will also help when doubling your child's room up as their safe room, somewhere they can escape to. This is a concept we got from Preventing Meltdowns & Bullying Prevention.
3. On Safety: Avoid hard and sharp furniture, cover electrical outlets, window guards or maybe grilles, remove cords for curtains and blinds, and use moulded plastic with rounded edges.
4. On insulation from too much noise or light: To prevent too much stimuli, use carpets if possible, but also bear in mind with carpets comes the need for more often vacuuming, which could be a whole different problem in itself. Thick curtains for blackout which will also help to make the room a safe room as per tip 2, oil door hinges often, and if the floor is parquet, try to identify where it squeaks. Cork or bulletin boards on the walls would help too.
5. On storage: Toy bins and drawers or cupboards to keep away toys and games. Keeping clutter to a minimum will prevent sensory overload. Picture labels to let your child know where his/her toys are may also help as autistic children are usually visual learners and like orderliness.
6. On empty walls: Try to keep one empty so you can put up a schedule of their routines
7. On division of space: Divide the room into zones (calm time, sleeping time, craft time) so there is a predictable place for everything.
8. On textures: If your child is sensory defensive/craving, identify the textures he/she prefers and use that in the room. For eg: bedsheets, pillows, beanbags, textured wallpaper on one wall, rugs. Avoid metallic furniture as they can be cold to touch and have no texture.
9. On furniture: Consider getting furniture that are durable, and can be secured to the walls. Avoid glass mirrors, especially if your child is very active. If your child shares a bedroom, consider beds with an integrated hideout spot.
What did you take into consideration when planning your kids' room? Did we miss out on anything that you'd like to share? Let us know! :)