With home becoming the center of life, it’s important to make sure that every member of your family feels that it is a place to belong. And if you have a child with autism or another sensory processing disorder, then you can make a few easy changes to make home feel safe and comfortable for them. Here are some ways that you can make your home a more autism-friendly environment.
Many children with autism tend to have special interests, and it would be very beneficial to create a space that fosters and encourages these interests, especially as an avenue for learning. If your child likes collecting information about plants, then you can find a place in the house that’s dedicated to learning more about plants. You can print out pictures and diagrams from online about different species of plants and even the basic anatomy of a root or stem, for example. When you are homeschooling your child, giving them their own space where they can focus on what they are interested in is a great motivation to learn.
Often, the symptoms of autism can cause a child to feel overwhelmed by their environment because of overstimulation. By contrast, your child could be stimming because they don’t have enough stimulation from their environment. In either case, a sensory hideout is a great way to give your child a place to stim in a healthy way. You can put up a small tent in the house or, if you don’t have the room for a tent, you can make a small fort out of a sheet. The point is that your child can have a place to escape when they need to. Then inside the sensory hideout, put resources such as their favorite books, a feelings chart, or something that offers positive sensory input like a soft blanket.
Life Skills Area
If you want to create an activity area for your child to pursue their special interests, then you might also consider a place where they can practice life skills. This can be a separate area, like a play kitchen, or you can incorporate your entire house. Try adding labels to cupboards and parts of the closet to help teach organization, and you can encourage your child to work with you when cooking, doing laundry, or any chore that they don’t normally do. Practicing life skills at an early age can go a long way to preparing your child to function in adult life.
The Connections Therapy Center
The Connections Therapy Center serves families of children and adolescents with disabilities and special needs. We are a team of experts in the fields of pediatric speech, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and behavioral sciences. As a team, we offer intensive hands-on therapy for children and adolescents, as well as informative and useful resources for families. If you are interested in learning more about what we can do to help your family, visit us online or give us a call at (301) 577-4333. Want to get more information on how to help your child thrive? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.