It simply is not practical to be able to give one sweeping set of tips and advice for when it comes to creating the best home environment for a family with a child on the autism spectrum. All children are unique anyway, but those with ASD will have distinct needs or requirements that can differ from child to child. There are also some differences among the members of the family too, and home life and cultures that can make the task of general advice quite tricky.
Saying that, though, it can be quite helpful to clarify certain principles and how the environment that a child is in can impact that. Then, according to your child and their needs, you can modify things as you see fit. Like anyone who has worked with children or even in something like palliative care, all the needs are different. So here are some of those principles to look out for, and see what helps.
When thinking about your home environment, you need to think about visual overstimulation; it is definitely something to consider. Many classrooms at school, and then as a result, at home, have walls that are covered in posters, objects, letters, and so on. This can help children to learn, but for children with autism, it can actually be a little counterproductive. Eye contact is something that tends to decrease when they are in an environment that is visually very busy. So when you are thinking about their room at home, for example, make sure that the environment isn’t having to compete with you for the child’s attention. This is also important in a bedroom, especially if it could be a distraction for them getting to sleep.
Lighting is something else that can also be important in the home, and getting it right can help autistic children at home. Fluorescent lighting is something that is a pulsating light. In fact, it has been shown that in fluorescent light, many children can tire quickly and even show some diminished eye contact, as well as shorter attention spans. In these instances, children can do better with incandescent lighting. It might be best to try out a few different lights with your child, though, to see how things feel and what they respond well with.
One thing that is not surprising, is just how much color can have an impact on all of us. To start off with, it can be a good idea to look at which colors your child is likely to notice the most and then avoid using the colors too much. For instance, if your child prefers quite bright colors, like those of primary colors, then it could be a good idea to not use those colors for items of clothing, and even for the walls at home. If not, they could pay more attention to walls than what else is going on. Likewise, if you want their attention, then wearing a top or hat in one of their favorite colors can be a simple thing that can work.