We all know how venturing out in the world can present extra challenges for children with autism. While you don’t have to worry about these challenges at home, have you thought about how small improvements could make your home even more comfortable and supportive for your child? Most parents are pretty budget-conscious, and the thought of making home improvements may have you envisioning dollar signs. That’s why we’ve put together these ideas for simple home upgrades that are both effective and affordable.
Ideas for the Whole House
When you think about what your child needs for an optimal environment, the biggest concerns usually come from sensory issues. Some people on the autism spectrum have sensory over-responsivity, where they become agitated by overstimulation. Others may have sensory under-responsivity, where they aren’t as quick to respond to stimuli. In either case, there are all kinds of changes you can make around the house to provide the right sensory balance. With all of these changes, our top tip for saving money is to search for deals on the supplies you need. You can find just about any household item at Amazon, and with online Amazon coupon codes and other offers, it’s easy to stack the savings.
Most of us don’t give much thought to our home’s lighting, but it’s common for those with autism to respond negatively to certain types of light. Fluorescent light is the biggest culprit, so an easy change is to get rid of any fluorescent light fixtures. If your child has a positive response to lower light, you may want to invest in dimmer switches. Traditional dimmer switches are inexpensive, but there are also affordable options for smart switches, which give you even more control over your home’s lighting.
And while natural light is ideal for someone on the spectrum, the glare that comes from the sun can be a source of distress. To reduce glares, take a quick walk through your home to see where they’re most prevalent. If you have hardwoods or tile flooring, consider adding an inexpensive throw rug in spots where they hit the most. If you get a glare from screens like a TV or computer monitor, the solution may be as simple as repositioning. You can also reduce glare by installing shades or blackout curtains to cover windows.
Our homes are full of noises that many of us who aren’t on the spectrum simply don’t notice. However, for your child with autism, background sounds can be a major source of stress. The blog Autism Programs recommends reducing those background sounds by making changes to your routine, such as running the dishwasher and other appliances at night.
You can also reduce the ambient noise in your home by using soundproofing materials. While there are companies that can install this type of material, an inexpensive way to make your home more soundproof is to add anything that absorbs sound. Textiles like rugs and curtains are perfect, along with hanging artwork on walls. If your child likes to paint or draw, save money on home decor and add soundproofing by displaying their original works of art!
Many parents like to create a sensory-friendly room so that their child has their own space that’s designed just for them. However, it’s also easy to incorporate sensory-friendly items in any room of your home. For example, to give your child an outlet for movement, Autism Parenting Magazine suggests getting an exercise ball or a rocking chair as an affordable alternative to a swing. Another inexpensive way to give your child the right tactile stimulation is to make your own sensory activities. What’s even better is that many of these projects can be made with items you already have.
When we already do so much to help our children stay comfortable and happy outside the home, it’s easy to overlook small improvements we could make inside. Your home is already a safe haven away from the chaos of life. Now you can make it even better so that it’s the perfect place for your child to thrive.
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