How to Create an Ideal Bedroom for a Child with Autism

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Are you considering revamping your youngster’s bedroom? Since children with autism face unique challenges, it makes sense to create a unique area to help them thrive. Here are some ideas to customize the space to improve your child’s quality of life. 

Environmental Influences
When creating a great space for a child on the autism spectrum, it’s necessary to start with an understanding of autism and the way it affects a child’s senses. Children with autism can experience sensory overload from their environment, and it can come in a variety of forms. For instance, a child with scent sensitivities might struggle with eating certain foods that produce strong odors. Some children are bothered by touch and textures, and others by sounds. Visual overload is another concern for many children. Also, children might experience difficulties with more than one sense, and some children experience hypersensitivity to stimulation. When designing your child’s special space, think through what she does to feel comfortable, and which sensations she gravitates toward. 

Reducing Sensory Input
There are several steps you can take toward cutting back the stimulation in your child’s bedroom. Consider soundproofing the space, such as with wall panels, acoustic windows, and thicker carpet. Choose a color scheme in soothing hues, such as lavender, pale blue, or gray, and do some decluttering so there isn’t a surplus of items to distract or confuse your child. If space is at a premium, one idea is to add some furniture that can multitask, such as a bed with built-in storage and a toy chest that doubles as a seat. It’s an easy way to put your square footage to work while avoiding excess clutter. 

Engaging with Order
Some experts note that children with autism appreciate and enjoy orderliness. With that in mind, tidying the bedroom can be an action in which your youngster plays an active role, boosting her comfort, giving her control over her space, and encouraging motor skills. House Beautiful suggests that using color-coded organization to help your child with tidying up. Learning to organize takes time for some autistic children, but with patience, it’s an opportunity for your child to feel more settled and secure.

Accessories to Consider
There are many options worth considering when accessorizing your child’s room. For instance, many children benefit from an outlet for sensory stimulation. Take into consideration what your child is drawn to, what she avoids, and areas of particular concern. There are many options out there to enhance your child’s life. For instance, a bean bag chair can provide desirable stimulation for children who want textile input and pressure without movement. A therapy ball is another option, and some children do best with a cuddle swing. Children who need to move more might prefer a trampoline or homemade ball pit. Another idea is to make a sensory tunnel. A weighted blanket can soothe when it’s time to sleep, and you can even make your own with simple DIY instructions from Instructables.   

Lighter and Brighter
When selecting artificial light sources, some research indicates light bulbs can play a significant role in your child’s comfort. Bright lighting can be particularly helpful, with full-spectrum lights an ideal selection. It’s especially important to avoid fluorescent bulbs, as the sound and flicker can overwhelm people with sensory concerns. There are also indicators children on the autism spectrum can benefit from natural light sources. By increasing exposure to sunlight, you can potentially encourage better sleep habits, reduce agitated behaviors, and even cut down certain medications. With that in mind, choose window treatments that allow light in through the day, and consider talking with your doctor about adding a light therapy box to your child’s regimen. 

Creating a bedroom tailored to your child’s unique needs can help her to thrive. Look for ways to organize the space, and think about what will soothe your youngster and help her focus. Your child can prosper, thanks to the great opportunities you provide in her environment.

Text: Jenny Wise