4 Tips for Creating an Autism-Friendly Sensory Bedroom

Most people on the autism spectrum also have something called sensory processing disorder. This makes them either over- or under-sensitive to sensory inputs, including patterns, colors, sounds, smells, and textures.

Most people on the autism spectrum also have something called sensory processing disorder. This makes them either over- or under-sensitive to sensory inputs, including patterns, colors, sounds, smells, and textures.

When you have a child on the spectrum, it’s important to ensure that their home environment — particularly their bedroom — is designed around these sensory differences. Creating a sensory bedroom doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated, but it can make a difference in how comfortable your child is at home and how easily they will thrive in that environment.

Walls and Colors

Loud wallpaper patterns are a definite no, as they can trigger sensory overload and stress out an autistic child. When it comes to choosing colors for the walls, furniture, and decor, bear in mind that children with autism tend to perceive colors more intensely. This means bright colors can often be overwhelming, and bright white can be just as bad. So, stick to pale shades of green, blue, and pink for a soothing environment. Also, keep posters and other wall hangings to a minimum. If you want to liven the space up, use a chalkboard wall or even a simple cork board to allow your child to create their own wall decorations.

Clutter and Organization

Minimalism, or the art of living with less stuff, is having a moment. However, when it comes to children with autism, it is less of a trendy lifestyle and more of a necessity. Minimizing the visual stimuli in the room can help a child concentrate and feel more relaxed. This means getting rid of toys, clothes, and knick-knacks that aren’t particularly beloved or don’t serve a purpose. Good Housekeeping has a useful guide to decluttering a kid’s room, with a focus on keeping the child involved and creating an organized environment where everything has a “home.”

Smells and Air Quality

People with autism often have a heightened sense of smell, so it is useful to make sure your child’s room always smells pleasant. If they have smells they respond positively to, you can use candles and essential oils. If they simply don’t like smells, ventilate the room during the day when they are at school and clean the room regularly using non-toxic, neutral-smelling products.

These steps will also help the room stay pollutant-free. Poor-quality air can impact a child’s health, even causing asthma or other respiratory illnesses. An air purifier from companies such as Lennox can definitely help, as long as the sound does not trigger your child’s oversensitivity. If you do get an air purifier, make sure you replace the HVAC filter regularly — it is easy to buy the filters you need through online on websites like FilterBuy.

Lighting

Good lighting is crucial in an autism-friendly sensory bedroom. Fluorescent lighting is the worst option, as the flickering can easily trigger sensory overload for people with autism. Instead, use various sources of soft lighting so the light in the room is easily controlled.

Learn a bit about the different types of lighting — ambient, accent, and task — and how these could be combined for a relaxing effect. A good example would be a soft ambient light with a dimmer with several sources of task lighting for reading, homework, or hobbies.

Overall, the most important thing is that you keep your child looped into the process of building the best possible bedroom for them. Every child with autism is different, and each one has very specific preferences when it comes to visuals, textures, smells, and so on. Keep these guidelines in mind, but don’t hesitate to use their feedback.

~ By Jenny Wise
http://specialhomeeducator.com