Your children are your greatest joy and all you want is to provide them with the happiest, healthiest and safest possible home environment for their success and self-esteem. For the parents of children with special needs, this desire can become a lifelong passion. Luckily, there are several options for simple, easy home modifications to help enable your children. Best of all, many of these options are eco-friendly and won’t break the bank.
Your home doesn’t have to feel like a minefield for your child. If there are sharp or dangerous items in your home that you don’t want the child to come into contact with, consider storing them high off the ground, out of reach from your child, and preferably in a secured, locked location in your home where your child cannot access them. Installing padding on floors can be helpful for preventing injuries – especially in children who are especially prone to tripping and falling. The added bonus for you is that it will also be much more comfortable to walk on! If you’re concerned about spills – and let’s face it, spills will happen – you can always install linoleum on top of the padding.
Proper lighting is extremely important for the home environments of almost all children with special needs. For those on the autism spectrum, proper lighting can reduce over-stimulation. And regardless of whether or not a child (or adult) has special needs, it is important to maintain proper lighting to prevent accidents or injuries. If there are any poorly-lit areas in your home, an inexpensive solution would be to install lamps or other lighting fixtures and ensure that the light switches are within reach of your child. If pulsating fluorescent lights are a trigger for your child, you can now purchase high-speed ballasts to minimize this effect and bring your child some relief. For children on the autism spectrum, special coverings can be installed on home windows to reduce your child’s ability to be distracted by the sights outside the window, while still allowing a healthy sunlight to enter the home.
Modifications for the Autism Spectrum
All children have a unique set of needs, and this is especially true of children on the autism spectrum. Many children on the autism spectrum have sensory differences, including but not limited to extreme sensitivity involving one or more of the senses. If this sounds like your child, it is important to take this into consideration when planning home decor. You can quickly and easily modify your home to create a greater sense of comfort for your child without having to spend a lot of money. First, simplify the home decor and try to limit the colors, pictures and number of decorative items on the walls and throughout the home. This can reduce visual over-stimulation in children with autism. Also try to reduce the amount of noise in the home by making sure your child’s bedroom is the furthest room from the living room, television, computer and dishwasher. You may notice that when your home environment is less busy, it will be less distracting and your child might even be able to focus more.
As you can see, there are many simple, Do-It-Yourself options available for modifying your home to be safe and friendly for your special needs child. You can rest easier at night knowing many of these options are low-stress, eco-friendly and affordable. Just as a friendly reminder, when making these home modifications, be sure to choose modifications that you would be comfortable with, too. Do what’s best for the whole family, since you all will be sharing the same roof. Remember, these are just tips — not a firm guideline that you’ll have to follow word-for-word. For best success rates, feel free to adapt these suggestions to your family’s unique needs.
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