Most people encounter and process various types of sensory information all day every day and don’t give it a second thought. However, a common trait of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is sensitivity to sensory information, particularly to sounds, smells and lighting, which means the same sensory input that the rest of us take for granted can be totally overwhelming.
Creating a safe haven for kids with sensory sensitivity gives them a place to feel safe, reduce anxiety, decrease stress and provide an area for them to escape from their daily struggles. Before you begin to design your child’s space, you’ll need to identify which of the seven senses, sight, sound, smell, touch, taste, balance and body awareness, are presenting a challenge. Keep in mind that some children struggle with a single sense, but others have trouble with multiple sensory challenges.
How to create a sensory friendly space
You can start by designating an area of your home as a soothing space, if possible, it should be a separate room from the rest of the household activities. This soothing space should be kept quiet, calm and not too bright. The ideal setup will vary from child to child based on their particular sensory sensitivity, but here are some tips to incorporate into your child’s sensory friendly space:
- A sense of enclosure and protection is soothing, so use a small room or section off a small space in a bigger room.
- Avoid fluorescent lights, instead use soft lighting with a fiber-optic lamp, stars projected on the ceiling, LED lit walls or tuck LED lights under opaque glass for a subtle lighting option.
- Blues and purples are often a soothing color palette.
- Add soft surfaces for comfort, such as a pile of pillows, a foam mat or padded chair.
- Remove wall decorations that can be distracting.
- Weighted blankets can help calm children with autism and have also been known to aid sleep problems.
If you have additional questions on creating a safe haven at home for children with Autism, contact us here.