An organized home is an essential part of a successful family. Order and routine are especially important for individuals on the Autistic Spectrum. But how do you organize your home if your child has Autism? Clean, decluttered spaces, centrally placed calendars with important dates marked prominently, and white boards listing different chores help autistic individuals function. These things also go a long way towards creating a comfortable home for the entire family. Here’s a list of helpful home organization tips parents with Autistic children that will benefit the entire family.
- Create Sensory-Friendly Safe Spaces – If your child does not have their own bedroom, work with them to choose a place they can go when they feel like they are on sensory overload or simply want to be alone. Make sure this space has plenty of room for your child to pace. Keep it within hearing range of the rest of the house but far enough away so that, if your child does have a meltdown or seeks noise, they do not disrupt the rest of the family.
- Get Comfortable – Invest in sensory-friendly furniture such as giant beanbag chairs, body pillows, heavy or weighted blankets, standing desks and blackout curtains. Be sure to choose these items with your child and have them try them before you buy them to be sure they will get used. These will help your child feel more comfortable in their surroundings. For suggestions, check out Autism-Products.com.
- Clear the Clutter – Decluttering each room of your home will go a long way towards saving your entire family money, time, and stress. Work with your children to go through their rooms, establish what they are willing to throw away, what they are willing to put into storage, and what simply mustremain out. Take a picture of each room in the house when it is clean and hang it up somewhere where everyone can see it. This will serve as a reminder of how each room should look and encourage children to keep it that way.
- Store It Within Sight – Store important items within sight so they are easily found. Use shallow wall shelves to store toys, books, and games within plain sight. For large collections, such as trucks, plastic figurines, video games, and stuffed animals, invest in large plastic bins. This Stackable Drawer Unitcan fit in a bedroom closet, keeping items nearby and easily viewable. Label the bins with both a picture of the item and its name. Rotate large collections so part of that collection is always out.
- Keep It Within Easy Reach – Put items such as coats, boots, keys, remote controls and kitchen utensils where you use them most often. Invest in a coat rack or hook and put it near the door. Keep keys on a ring in the foyer. Place television, video game, and other controls in a basket on an end table next to the couch where you watch television.
- Keep Chores and Upcoming Activities In Sight – Use visual reminders: white boards, large calendars, schedules, incentive boards throughout your home. Place these items where they will be seen as your family walks through the house. This can be as simple as post-it notes placed in common areas, a large calendar on the refrigerator, or a Behavior Chartset up next to the area where your child plays.
- Keep Moving – Invest in a piece of exercise equipment you can all enjoy, such as a trampoline, ski machine, treadmill, or exercise bike. Check out Nextdoor and Facebook Marketplace to pick up quality equipment at a deep discount.
Raising an autistic child is an amazing, rewarding, challenging, exhausting, incredible experience. Organizing your home and creating sensory friendly spaces for your child will help them thrive and benefit the entire family.
To learn more about Autism:
If your child is newly diagnosed or you suspect they may have Autism:
Parental Rights in Special Education
My Child Has a Disability – Now What?
An “Alleged Incapacitated Person” aka OK, Our Child Has A Disability. Now What Do We Do?
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