How to Shape the Environment of Children with ASD to Boost Success
If you have recently discovered that your child is on the autism spectrum, we recommend scheduling visits with a therapist to gain a better understanding of how you can provide appropriate treatments for your child, both at home and in school.
If your child is already undergoing treatment, make a list of the things your child is comfortable touching, seeing, eating and so on. This helps you create an environment for your child that is conducive to your child’s progress with such treatment.
Many of the comprehensive treatment approaches for Autism Spectrum Disorder involve helping children adapt to their surroundings as it highly affects how children behave. Research suggests that it is critical to shape your child’s environment in the house that is oriented to their likes and dislikes.
Here are a few important aspects parents should consider when working towards creating the right environment for their children:
Allot a room for your child so she can have her own space:
Have a room allotted for your child to find solitude whenever they feel aggressive or have a meltdown. Teach your child to use this room before the situation intensifies into aggression. Design the room with soft objects, plexiglasses for the windows and minimal furniture. Fill the room with sensory objects and items that can calm your child down and help them relax.
Children with ASD tend to get lost in their own thoughts and are prone to wander. Hence, we recommend parents install alarm systems and safety locks in their child’s room and all over the house. This helps you stay alert and be aware of when your child leaves or enters the house.
Design a work/study place:
For an efficient study session, children on the spectrum need a quiet study place free from distractions and outside stimuli. Sit with your child and find out how they’d like their study area designed. If your child is comfortable and wants to provide inputs, take their help to build the study area. Here are a few suggestions from us:
Keep the room free from any objects that distract your child
Design a seating arrangement that your child is most comfortable in
Have lively wallpapers on the walls that pertain to your child’s interests
Have all the important books and timetables of your child
Consider your child’s favorite colors:
Colors have the ability to influence the mood of children on the spectrum. Hence, it is important to fill your home with relaxed colors. As we suggested, once you make a list of all the things your child is most comfortable with, try using as many of those objects, colors and toys across the house. Observe your child and make your own list of colors that you feel your child is most comfortable with. Does your child like bold colors? What color do they seem to notice the most? Are they drawn to subtle colors? These are questions to consider when creating your list. We recommend following up with your child later to validate the information.
Lighting can influence your child’s mood and impact the functioning of daily activities. For many children on the spectrum, fluorescent lighting may contribute to laziness and reduce attention span. We recommend parents try various lighting options before deciding on what best suits your child.
For more information regarding sensory therapy, cognitive skills, behavior therapy, developmental disorders, and early intervention, please contact Stepping Stones Center. We emphasize on acquiring new and appropriate behaviors, while also working on helping the child achieve developmentally age-appropriate milestones through evidence-based practices.