By Amanda Henderson
If you are like most families, your kids likely spend a lot of time in their bedrooms. So, it makes sense to want to provide a space where they can play, learn, and sleep comfortably. For children who are on the spectrum, this means keeping special considerations in mind to calm their senses and help them feel safe in your home. The Giggling Pig Art & Party Studio offers these tips on how to set up an autism-friendly bedroom your child will love.
Filter Pollutants Out of Your Child’s Bedroom
The whole point of a bedroom is to keep your child safe and comfortable. One of the easiest ways to ensure children on the spectrum can relax in their room is to clean the air. Harmful airborne pollutants, like dust, mold, and pollen can easily make your child sick and can even interfere with sleep.
So make sure your child can sleep and play with peace of mind by changing your filters often. When you do change your filters, use a MERV 11-rated filter, which will stop 95 percent of indoor particles from getting into the air.
Create an Area Free of Sensory Stimulation
For children on the spectrum, learning to cope with sensory experiences can be very stressful. Your child may have trouble processing light, dealing with changes in sound, or even with tactile sensations. While it’s helpful to find comfortable ways to introduce autistic children to these experiences, sometimes they just need a break.
Studies have even shown that sensory deprivation float tanks can be useful in calming stress and anxiety in individuals who are on the spectrum. While you may not want a float tank in your kid’s room, kid-friendly tents can be a convenient way to block out light and sound, and provide your child with a place to chill out alone. Put some cushy pillows inside to give your child even more comfort.
Address Any Autism-Related Sleep Issues
Changing your filters can prevent asthma symptoms from waking you and your child at night. Oftentimes, however, individuals on the spectrum are afflicted by other sleep disorders, according to Spectrum. Stress from everyday activities can make it difficult for even younger children on the spectrum to fall asleep at night, but medication side effects can impact sleep quality as well.
It may be helpful to invest in heavy blackout curtains since light variations can wake sensitive children. These curtains may also help reduce outside sounds in your child’s bedroom, which can be as beneficial for focus as it is for sleep.
Consider Giving Other Children Separate Spaces
When one of your children is on the spectrum, you don’t necessarily need to put your kids in separate bedrooms. There are so many creative room-sharing ideas that can keep all of your children happy, notes Better Homes & Garden, even when sleeping in the same space. You can divide a room without additional walls if your children could benefit from a little more privacy. Room dividers can be especially helpful when you have a child on the spectrum who has difficulties staying focused or getting to sleep because of distractions.
If room sharing just isn’t working for your children, it may be time to find a home or apartment with more space. It’s easier to expand your living space in a city like nearby Stamford, which has many reasonably priced apartments available in the city and surrounding suburbs. Sites like Apartmentguide allow you to filter your search by the number of bedrooms and other criteria like maximum price and pet-friendliness.
Creating a safe, comfortable space for children to sleep and play is always important. But for children on the spectrum, having a thoughtfully designed bedroom can make a real difference in their overall development. So, find simple ways to minimize stress in your home and make your child’s bedroom a haven for play, sleep, and comfort.