Home is a place to feel safe and comfortable. A place where we can feel at ease just being ourselves. For those on the spectrum, it’s even more important to have a living space that provides comfort and contentment.
There are different types of spectrum disorders. Although generally, adults and children with ASD are either hypo-sensitive or hyper-sensitive to smell, sight, taste, sound or touch. Not everyone shares the same experiences or challenges. When creating an indoor space for you or your loved one, it’s important to keep in mind your own circumstances, and focus on what will work for you.
Whether it’s an entire home, a couple of rooms, or a small space in a room, here are some design tips that may help you create a happy, autism-friendly living space.
Carefully think about spaces and define them by their function. You can use colours and textures to help with this. Spaces that are orderly and defined are easier for the autistic mind to process. Arrange furniture so that foot traffic will be clear and unobstructed. Also, if you or your loved one has an overwhelming-like need for cleanliness, find furnishings that can be easily cleaned and sanitised.
Use softer pastel colours to paint the walls. These tones tend to have a more calming and relaxing effect. Brighter, vivid colours are more likely to cause agitation.
For those who have sensory sensitivities, lighting and acoustics should be carefully planned.
Natural lighting is a good option. Large windows with blinds that are easy to use, are perfect for controlling amount of light needed. If the room does not have natural lighting, choose indirect, recessed lighting with a dimmer control. Avoid harsh fluorescent lights that can sometimes buzz, many people on the spectrum may find this very distracting.
Reduce noise levels by using materials and fittings that absorb the vibrations from noise. Wall hangings, carpets, and rugs can help to reduce echoing and noise.
Music has been known to help people on the spectrum feel calm. It can also soothe anxieties. A small wireless speaker is a great way to have your favourite music playing softly in the background when needed.
Remember, each person is unique and has different needs and wants. Personalising the living space is the key to bringing the most happiness and comfort.