How to Create an Autism-Friendly Environment for Children
Contributed by Jenny Wise from Special Home Educator
Our homes can be the safest places we know. However, for children on the spectrum, they may contain stimuli that can be overwhelming, or hazards that are not seen as dangerous by inquisitive little ones. Here are ways you can make your home both comfortable and safe for your child.
Try to minimize stress brought on by surroundings as this can itself cause both danger and discomfort. Keep your home clutter-free and well-organized with an emphasis on roominess, as tight spaces and mess can be overwhelming to an ASD child.
Baby gates offer another layer of protection. Their versatility can allow gates to both keep your child away from areas that are unsafe, but also prevent unwanted wandering, such as from their bedroom. Gates and locks are effective, but alarms may still be necessary. Place them in areas of flight risk so that they can alert you whenever something is opened without authorization
Consider Service Dogs
Service dogs are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act, meaning they can accompany your little one to places as diverse as buses and restaurants. They can be an expensive commitment, however, organizations specializing in providing autism service dogs may offer advice on grants or fundraising. Find out more about financing a service dog here.
Decorate the walls in soothing colors and patterns. Use sounds and textures that you know they respond positively to. Make this their space, a place where they can feel at their most comfortable, and where they can explore their senses at a pace that suits them.
There is no single template out there that is guaranteed to work with all kids. After all, ASD children have their own unique needs and sensitivities. Regardless, there is plenty you can do to make your home a sanctuary where wandering and hazards are guarded against.
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