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Autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) sits among the most common neurodevelopmental conditions, as it is present in both younger children and adults. While it is mostly showcased as a social and learning disorder, rather than a physical one, coping with it can be hard for those who suffer from ASD.
The thing is, the increased sensitivity coming with ASD is not something that will improve the socialization aspect, which is essential during the toddler period. Additionally, this condition comes with a few consequences of its own, such as exaggerated behavioral patterns, as well as problems with a healthy circadian rhythm.
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While most consequences that are connected with autism come from external factors and stimuli attributes, there is something to be said about the effects of hormonal and chemical imbalances, as well. Bearing this in mind, one of the most common questions is whether autistic children need specialized furniture.
As we mentioned above, it is not necessary solely from a physical standpoint, but for a number of other reasons, including sensory integration therapy. This is why investing in adequate furniture for your autistic child is a wise decision.
With the intent of helping you make the best decision, we have prepared a couple of decorative ideas, as well as a review of some of the best furniture pieces for the bedroom. Let’s get right to it to find out what we have to recommend.
Do Children with Autism Need Specialized Furniture?
The answer to this question is not as simple as you might expect it to be. The first thing that we need to consider is that ASD is not a physical disorder, so there are no special needs related to the design of furniture or the comfort that it allows. Still, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pay attention and ensure that the bed your child is sleeping in is of optimal quality.
This is a part of providing adequate conditions and a calming sleeping environment for your child. Additionally, investing in other furniture, such as playhouses and tents, can also help a great deal in terms of their daytime routine — the thing is, your child may find these areas comfortable for social interaction and exposure to new stimuli.
Thus, if your idea is to go for an open-ended sensory integration therapy, taking more time to ensure your child has optimal bedroom furniture will certainly pay off.
Apart from that, there are a few other factors that you will need to consider to ensure that a room is not overly full of stimuli, but still allows your child to interact and get new experiences. First, you should ditch flickering lights, as these can be quite disturbing for both regular toddlers and those suffering from ASD. Remember, the goal is to make small steps into getting your child comfortable with different textures, sounds, lights, and objects.
You should also pay significant attention to the heating system in your child’s bedroom. Along with the fact that adequate temperature control may affect a healthy sleep routine, you will not want to expose them to extremes, such as being too hot or too cold. In correlation with that, while decorating their room can be fun, you should involve them in the process, as well.
Also, make sure that there aren’t any synthetic smells. In fact, even natural flower scents may trigger a certain behavioral pattern or anxiety until they have adapted to it. So, be careful with scents and make sure to consult with a specialist if you have to. In addition, you should do your best to decrease or completely remove any excessive noise that may be disturbing to your child. Bed tents can be a great way to eliminate noise and as well as reduce anxiety for autistic children and adults.
When it comes to bedtime routines, you can always offer them a noise-canceling pair of headphones and hope that these do the trick. Last, but not least, most ASD children are sensitive to EF, so do your best to reduce exposure to it in the bedroom.
Importance of Interior Design for Autism
As you can see, there are more than a few factors related to external stimuli that you should consider before moving on to the designing process. The whole idea of this is to create a bedroom that will channel inner peace and well-being. What this means is that the tips that we have mentioned above can not only benefit ASD children but also you and other people.
By focusing on designing an autism-friendly bedroom, you will be reducing the hypersensitivity that your child has, and you will be helping them adapt to the environment they spend the most time in. This will allow them to be more comfortable and open to social interaction and communication due to the fact that they are not being affected by certain stimuli attributes.
The main tip when designing a child’s bedroom is that you should avoid going for long horizons, but rather focus on placing furniture in a logical transitional order, creating a distinctive and clear area.
Not only that, but creating an interior area for your autistic child will involve changing furniture detailing, including going for smooth lines and a sharp definition with everything that is in the bedroom. The key is not to make the room look intimidating, but rather make it look safe by allowing your autistic child to observe everything that is in it.
The style that reflects autistic designing the best is modern or neo-classic (as long as it adheres to the aforementioned conditions). You should in no way go for anything with complicated patterns or too many stimulating colors, including orange, red, and yellow. On the other hand, it seems that autistic children are quite comfortable with pastel pink, green, and blue.
Additionally, other than the furniture you are planning to include, we would recommend something like a simple carpet and proper wall insulation to reduce the amount of noise and improve the overall bedroom atmosphere.
Bedroom Decorating Ideas for Children with Autism
As the importance of specifically designing a bedroom for your autistic child is quite clear, it is time to review some of the tips, as well as cool furniture pieces that you can put into the bedroom.
First, it is important to invest in furniture that can’t be tipped over that easily; you will not want your autistic child to be able to pull over a shelf of books once they get triggered.
Talking about the potential of exaggerated behavior, while you will want to prevent it with sensory integration therapy if it does happen, it is always good to have an open space for it. This is where your child will be able to release their frustrations without hurting themself or someone else.
Probably the most important part of decorating a space for your autistic child is the play area. As we suggested above, there are many benefits of sensory integration therapy, which is why allowing your child to have some fun and build their self-esteem is essential. An open-ended play area will not only be great for educational purposes, but it will also be a place where your child will get to interact with others and play with various objects, thus getting comfortable with stimuli attributes in the process. It’s possible to blend a play area with the sleeping area if done correctly, and some bed tents are designed to be both.
While a trampoline or a play table will work well, the best indoor solution is investing in a proper playhouse or comforting teepee. It can be used for educational purposes, social interaction, and even for the child’s nighttime routine, as long as the model features a safety bed design.
Much like you would do as a parent of a regular toddler, you should install child-proof latches and cover any sharp objects that your child could get hurt on. Not only that but make sure to have child-proof furniture corners and electrical outlets cover to prevent hazardous outcomes. Toddlers, and especially ASD children, don’t have an understanding of fatal consequences, which is why you should do your best to prevent any.
Last, but not least, make sure that the bed area is quiet and comfortable, featuring certain toys, like a Sea Sensory Projector, that can calm your child and prepare them for much-needed rest.
While designing the bedroom according to your autistic child’s needs is an extremely important task, it doesn’t have to be all about the budget. Following the aforementioned tips and consulting with a specialist, as well as your child, on what they would like to see in that area will turn it into a family-bonding activity.
Bedroom furniture doesn’t need to serve only a basic function, especially when you are dealing with a child with autism. Finding furniture that can help keep your child stimulated and engaged is just as important as having a comfortable bed or a cozy chair to sit on. So go ahead and select a few products from our recommendations above and see just how much of an impact it can have on your little one.