Child-proofing a room for your little bundle of joy is one thing, but in addition to the regular precautions, you may need to take some additional measures to secure the safety of an autistic child. Of course, every child with an autism spectrum disorder will need specific concessions for their particular disability, and you should talk to your doctor before implementing dramatic changes in any household environment. But at the very least you can take a few basic steps to ensure that your child has their own space that is safe, comfortable, and suitable, as well as appropriately stimulating. If you want to provide the best bedroom that you can for your autistic child with an emphasis on safety, here are just a few ways you can pull it off.
1. Install proper insulation. Light and noise can often keep an autistic child from sleeping, even more so than other children. To reduce outside stimuli, install thick carpeting and make sure the walls are heavily insulated. You should also check doors, floors, and so on for any squeaks and creaks. Keep hinges well-oiled, especially if you intend to check on your child in the middle of the night. Also, double- or triple-paned glass is probably a good idea for windows, along with black-out blinds or curtains (just make sure and cords or ties are well out of reach).
2. Keep surfaces low (or out of reach completely). Autistic children are often keen to climb whatever is handy to get to items they want that are high up. For this reason, you need to keep tables, chairs, and the bed low to the floor and make sure all toys are within easy reach so they don’t hurt themselves with a fall. Anything you want out of reach should be safely stowed, probably in a place they can’t see or hope to gain access to.
3. Consider color. Calm, cool colors are usually the best option for autistic children since the stimulus can definitely agitate them. However, you should take their preference into account. While neutrals and soothing pastel shades are generally advisable, every child knows what they like and what they don’t, and they will probably make their feelings known. So if your child picks a loud color simply because it’s their favorite, you may want to go ahead and let them make the decision. After all, both paint and accessories can be easily replaced.
4. Purchase proper furnishings. Anything with sharp edges should not even be considered. Yes, you can get padding, bumpers, and so on, but why bother with all that when there are so many friendly options for furniture? Padded bed frames aren’t too hard to come by, and you can easily include child furniture like couches or chairs that are completely frameless and a bruise-free. When it comes to a table or desk you might have a little more difficulty, but consider molded plastic (with rounded edges) instead of wood. As for toy bins, get those that have no lid (as your child could become trapped inside).
5. Safety features. Lamps are probably a no-no, as are other electronics. Instead, simply install a dim bulb in the ceiling light fixture or add wall sconces that are high up and out of reach. And when it comes to electrical outlets, make sure they all have safety covers.