A person’s bedroom should be a safe and comfortable refuge to come to after a long day. For children, it should also be a place that fosters productivity and creativity for homework and playing. Because children on the autism spectrum often experience difficulty sleeping and can be easily distracted, parents must sometimes take extra measures to ensure their child’s bedroom meets their needs. If your child is on the spectrum and you need to make changes to their bedroom, this article will help you get started.
One essential part of creating a calming bedroom is painting the walls a soothing color. Blue is a popular choice because it is generally thought to promote sleep. There are many different appealing shades of blue to choose from, and it goes with many other colors nicely. However, there are other color palettes that can benefit restful sleep (e.g., green, coral, beige, gray), and it’s important to factor in what colors your child likes.
Lighting is one of the most important elements in the bedroom of a child on the spectrum. Many children with sensory sensitivity are bothered by fluorescent lighting because they pick up on the intermittent patterns that people without a sensitivity usually don’t notice (i.e., the barely audible buzz, the minute flickering of light). To help prevent your child from being distracted or irritated, consider going with full-spectrum, LED, or incandescent lights. Also, it can be helpful to do away with overhead lighting of any kind, especially if there are hard floors in the room, because that can create a glare. Instead, opt for desk lamps and/or wall fixtures.
No one likes clutter in their living space, but it can be especially bothersome to a child on the spectrum. Consider adding attractive storage solutions such as bins, baskets, or organizers to keep toys, bedding, and other items neatly put away when not in use. Another way to create a clean and organized atmosphere is to adjust the layout of the room so that there is open space in the middle for playing and doing homework.
Like with color and light, children on the spectrum can be extra sensitive to noise. Things like a distant siren, a train passing by, or commotion in the living room can distract them from their homework and disturb their sleep. Therefore, you’ll want to take steps to mitigate outside noise in their bedroom. One way to do this is by adding thick curtains and putting in high-piled carpet or area rugs. Extra blankets and pillows can also absorb sound. If extraneous noise is especially loud, consider investing in wall panels. For bedtime, white noise machines and/or soothing music at a low volume can also help them sleep more soundly.
Lastly, furniture is a factor in creating a good bedroom for your child. Sharp edges are never a good idea in a child’s bedroom, so opt for furniture with round edges or apply padding/bumpers to furniture you already have. Also, to prevent furniture from tipping over, consider moving all the pieces to the wall and anchoring them (this also opens up space in the center of the room for playing and homework). When it comes to their bed, you can help avoid accidents by putting your child’s mattress and box spring directly on the floor, thus eliminating the need for a frame. If you or your child prefers a different type of bed, check out this article for safe ideas.
If your child is on the spectrum, you can make sure their bedroom meets their needs by considering a few factors. Choose a soothing color for the walls and put in lighting that won’t be irritating. Declutter and organize all items in the room and look into options for mitigating extraneous noise. Finally, ensure that all the furniture pieces are free of sharp edges and won’t tip over. Taking measures like these can significantly improve your child’s sleep and help them stay focused on their tasks.
Author: Jenny Wise
Jenny Wise is a stay-at-home parent of four children, home-educator, and blogger who writes about her journey and the challenges parents and home educators of autism experience.
Special Home Educator