How to Design an Autism-Friendly Bedroom for Your Child - by Jenny Wise

There are many children in foster care on the autism spectrum.  This article written by Jenny Wise offers great insight and tools for decorating an autism-friendly bedroom. 
The trauma kids in foster care experience; this information would be beneficial to every child in foster care.

How to Design an Autism-Friendly Bedroom for Your Child

When you are setting up a child’s bedroom, you are likely thinking about comfort and safety. While both are very important for any little one, If your child is on the autism spectrum, you may have a few more elements to consider. Children on the spectrum can be sensitive to sensory stimuli, like color, sound and even light, so make sure they feel relaxed and secure in their bedroom by following these setup steps.
Keep Dust, Pollutants and Smoke Out

So many children are affected by allergies and asthma, especially in the Southwest. Dry conditions and dust are common, and they can make it hard for kids to relax in their bedrooms. Furthermore, if anyone in your household smokes cigarettes, your kids’ health can be affected, even if smoking is only done outside. If you don’t have one yet, air purifiers are great tools for removing pollutants from the air inside your home, which helps keep your child healthy. For kids who have allergy or asthma symptoms, an allergen-reducing air purifier may be your best option, but if anyone uses cigarettes at home, look for one designed to remove smoke and other toxic particles from the air. Also be sure to look for a quiet model that won’t overwhelm your ASD child by being too noisy.

Stick to Soothing Colors and Patterns

In the Southwest, it’s common to see bright shades of red, yellow and orange in home decor. While these shades can be beautiful, they may not be the best for your child’s bedroom. Children with autism are very sensitive to color and patterns. In fact, some people on the spectrum are so sensitive that they hear colors. If your child seems to have an aversion to certain colors, avoid using those in the bedroom. For a child with no color preferences, opting for cooler shades, such as soft blues, greens and grays, can encourage calmer moods. Low-odor paint is also a good idea to keep pollutants and odors out of the room.

Choose Furniture that’s Safe 

Finding furniture for autistic children means focusing on function and safety. If your child is a climber (many children with autism are), you may want to avoid knobs and hooks. It’s also a good idea to securely fasten all pieces of furniture to the wall to avoid injuries from falls and tipping furniture over. You can find quite a few standard pieces of furniture that can certainly work for your child, but some companies actually make pieces especially for those on the spectrum. A cushy chair can be a great investment for parents of children with autism, and can be a good spot for your child to crash, jump into or relax after a long day.

Look for Calming Lighting

If your child has autism, you know they can be greatly affected by the lighting in a room. The flicker from fluorescent lighting can be disruptive to most people’s nervous systems, but can be especially problematic for those with autism. To prevent problems in your child’s bedroom, opt for more soothing LED lighting options. Some studies even show that using sensory mood lighting can help calm your child, which is perfect in the bedroom. Pressure- or switch-operated disco lights and fiber optics can be especially fun for your child, and can help them develop connections with cause and effect too.

Be Careful when Adding Electronics

Many experts will tell you to keep electronics out of your kid’s bedroom. For children on the spectrum, however, some electronics can actually make it easier to relax and get to sleep at night. White noise machines can be a great way to calm your child, while sensory projectors can provide added comfort. Do keep televisions, computers and other loud or bright electronics out of your child’s room. Screens can be overstimulating, especially near bedtime, and can make it harder for your child to sleep through the night and even worsen problems with learning, behavior and health.

Designing a safe, soothing bedroom for your ASD child doesn’t have to cause you stress. By taking a few extra features into account and being strategic with elements that impact your child’s senses, you can create a bedroom that any child would love and that will help your little one with special needs thrive.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Jenny Wise created Special Home Educator as a forum for sharing her adventures in homeschooling and connecting with other homeschooling families.


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