Keep the Stimuli Low
Children with autism are commonly sensitive to stimuli and can easily become stressed if their environment is overstimulating. According to Science Daily, many children on the autism spectrum have brains that react differently to sensory stimuli. This means things like intense, bright colors and dramatic lights should not be used in a home with an autistic child. They simply do not react well to these stimuli, and can easily become uncomfortable in such an environment. This also means that sounds should be kept at a minimum. That surround-sound system might seem great to you, but it might overstimulate and stress a child with autism. You should also be on the lookout for repetitive sounds, such as the ticking of a clock or droning of the air conditioner. Many adults automatically tune these things out over time, but a child with autism spectrum disorder might not be able to. Even things like scratchy fabrics can overstimulate some children with autism, so be sure to be aware of all the stimuli in your home and tune them down as much as possible.
Children with autism commonly have an underdeveloped sense of danger. In other words, they lack the sense of fear that is so valuable for self-preservation. They might attempt to do things that other children would be fearful of, including running out into the street and climbing on household furniture. In fact, children with autism are four times more likely to wander, according to Psychology Today. Many parents and adults take steps while in public or outside to prevent their children from wandering, but children with autism can wander and leave the area even while inside your home. Because of this, it is absolutely necessary to utilize locks to prevent your children from leaving.
Enlist the Help of a Furry Friend
You will never be able to account for every escape route or bit of stimuli in your home. It is just not feasible. Even with all the locks in the world and extremely tuned-down stimuli, a child with autism can become stressed or even get lost. Service dogs that are specialized to help a child with autism can calm a child down when they are stressed and alert you if the child attempts to leave or go somewhere they are not supposed to. These service animals can be key to keeping your child safe and comfortable inside your home. The best dogs for children with autism are usually larger sized, such as Labrador Retrievers and Pyrenees.
You can effectively make your home safer and more comfortable for a child with autism by following these tips. Keeping stimuli low and utilizing locks are both extremely important, but having a furry friend to provide extra help can fill in any gaps in your design plan. You might also want to keep in mind the difference between girls with autism and boys with autism, which might affect just how important each of these points play out. Girls with autism are less likely to be diagnosed and have different symptoms and difficulties than boys, which can greatly affect the best way to decorate your home space. Ultimately every child with autism is different, so it is important to stay flexible and follow your child’s lead.
Jasmine Dyoco loves crossword puzzles, audio books, and fencing. She is passionate about learning (anything and everything!). She works with Educatorlabs to curate scholastic information.