TIPS AND IDEAS ON DESIGNING A BEDROOM FOR A CHILD ON THE AUTISM SPECTRUM
Designing a bedroom for a child who has special needs can be a challenge, especially if you’re on a budget or don’t have a lot of space. There are so many things to consider, from finding furniture and storage solutions that do double-duty in order to conserve room to making each area comfortable and safe. Because every child has different needs, it’s important to consider the specifics before you get started. For instance, some children on the spectrum have issues with texture and the way certain fabrics feel on their skin; others are easily stimulated by colour, light, and sound. Thinking about these details first will ensure that you can create the best possible space for your child.
Organisation will be an important part of the process, as will creating as much open space as possible. This will help keep your child safe and will give him room to move around and play even if the room isn’t very big. You can also look for furniture that will perform more than one function and utilise shelving that goes up instead of out.
Here are a few things to consider before you get started.
GET CREATIVE WITH YOUR SPACE
Even in a large room, it’s a good idea to be conservative when it comes to placing furniture in a room for a child who is on the spectrum, simply because it can create a safe place to play as well as prevent sensory overload. Look for furniture that is multifunctional, such as a toy chest that will double as a reading bench. The more you can get out of each piece of furniture, the better. Also, think about how these pieces will grow with your child so he can get more use out of them.
CONSIDER LIGHT AND COLOUR
Light and coloUr can go a long way in a space for a child, and if there are sensory issues to consider, it’s crucial to choose your options carefully. Some colours are much more stimulating than others, and lighting can have the same effect. Since the bedroom should be a calming place, you might want to go with neutral or cool colours, rather than primary or warm ones. Natural light and fluorescents can be overwhelming, so stick with soft light bulbs if possible.
Clutter and disorganisation can overwhelm a child on the spectrum, so look for storage options that will help him keep things orderly. Clear plastic bins that can be labelled are ideal, but you can also create small areas around the room for different stations: art, games and puzzles, toys, and reading. Structure and order are often important for kids who are living with autism, and having specific areas for each group will help your child keep the room clean.
MAKE IT SAFE
As much as you may want your child’s bedroom to be comfortable and fun, you’ll also want to make sure it’s a safe place to learn and play in. Safety considerations may differ according to your child’s specific needs, but in general, it’s a good idea to secure furniture to the wall to prevent tipping; keep the smoke alarm in good working order with fresh batteries; and ensure that the windows are secure, especially if your child has a tendency to wander or explore.
Designing a bedroom for a child on the autism spectrum can be a bit of a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be stressful or expensive. By utilising things like light and colour and keeping the room organised, you can make sure it will be a safe, comfortable space for your little one without spending a ton of money.
Guest Post by Danny Knight