Most kids’ rooms are super colorful, full of toys and bright lights and interesting plush animals peeking out of every corner. The same can be the case for any autistic child as well, but they also need some more functionality. Most kids with autism require a safe, calm and soothing space to call their own. If you’re torn between giving your kids plenty of things to entertain themselves and giving them a safe cocoon, here are a few tips on how to design a perfect room for your special child:
CREATE DIFFERENT ZONES
In most cases, children on the spectrum love to spend time in familiar places where they can relax and feel safe. If your child has one room for sleeping, playing and studying, it’s best to provide them with clear zones so they know which task to focus on in which location. Watch and listen to your child and see how they like to behave in their space. If they love to spend time on their iPad, create a comfy iPad zone with a beanbag, side table for drinks and charger at hand. And if they love small confined spaces, create a hiding spot in the closet painted like a starry night for extra comfort.
OPT FOR CALMING COLORS
Every child on the spectrum is different, and they all react to stimuli in different ways. Some children with autism can get easily overwhelmed by bright colors like red, yellow and orange and set them off. If your child has a favorite color, make sure to opt for a muted variation. For instance, if they love red, instead of fire engine red, you can opt for more gentle clay red. If they don’t have any interest in colors, opt for calming yet still fun blues and earthy greens. Something with an eggshell finish is easy to wipe clean, so that’s a great solution to messy kids.
GET THE RIGHT TOYS
While some kids with autism can spend hours playing with loud cars and toys, others prefer a more calming way to play, something that will reduce their fidget urge and keep their brains occupied. There are amazing special needs toys that not only provide hours of safe fun but also help kids build appropriate skills. These help kids expand their horizons and learn new things in a safe and effective way. You can easily mix a few special toys with their regular ones and see whether they love them. The fact that these are designed with special needs kids in mind, you can rest assured your child will be completely safe when playing with these amazing toys, which is always helpful to know for autism parents.
CONSIDER A BED TENT
Some kids with autism can easily get overwhelmed by open space, no matter the size of their bedroom. To make their space cozy for bedtime, you can consider bed tents that provide a secure, enclosed and calming atmosphere for the child, giving them a much easier time falling asleep.
INCLUDE ADJUSTABLE LIGHTING
Many children with autism have strong reactions to bright lights and can be bothered by the constant buzzing or light flashing that comes from regular fixtures. Many kids and parents are quite satisfied with soft sensory lights that can be adjusted depending on the mood. It’s also a great idea to equip the room with blackout shades (or blinds if the child loves to tug on the curtains) to make the room nice and dark for bedtime and naps.
HELP THEM ORGANIZE WITH AMPLE STORAGE
If your child with autism loves their little rituals and loves to keep their room nice and tidy, make sure to provide them with plenty of storage to help with organizing. Ample storage can also be helpful for kids who get easily overwhelmed by clutter and find it hard to decompress when surrounded by too many toys, books and gadgets. Getting a toy chest is a great solution for storage because all kids can easily handle it, plus it closes shut, hiding all the clutter. For kids who love to display their things, open shelves are a great way to keep them proud of their possessions.
Every child on the spectrum is different, but you, as a parent, know what yours likes. Listen to their needs and do whatever you can to make their bedroom comfortable, safe and beautiful for many cozy nights and happy days.
Guest Contributor: Diana Smith