Creating a Sensory Friendly Room for Your Child

Parents of special needs children are constantly on the look-out for new therapies and new products to help their child succeed-but many neglect to create a space at home for the child to unwind, free of sensory input.  This article will outline ways you can make your child’s room or play room sensory friendly.

It is a known fact that colors influence moods and feelings; in a child with autism or sensory sensitivities, this can be exaggerated.  Avoid primary colors or bright colors for bedroom painting.  Stick with earth tones such as muted or pale blues, light greys, sage greens, or earthy brown tones are best for bedrooms.  Better yet, bring to mind what color your child gravitates toward during their night routine.  Take the same thought to the bedding and furniture.  Avoid busy patterns or bright colors if possible.

For the playroom, avoid neon colors or bright oversaturated colors, but primary colors are a wonderful choice to encourage activity and thought.

If your child has sensory issues, let them pick out flooring or a rug that they are comfortable with.  Carpet can cause sensory overload.  Again, try to avoid busy patterns or colors.  If carpet proves to be uncomfortable, try wood or laminate, and use a blanket as a rug.  Just make sure to secure the blanket to the floor with skid-proof tape.  The same principal applies to curtains: try to purchase simple curtains, as ruffles can cause issues in children with autism or sensory issues.  For the play room, however, you can incorporate bright colors and curtains without a problem.

Remove clutter from the room, as disorganization can quickly lead to sensory overload.  Choose a few of your child’s favorite items, and display them.  Bookshelves are also wonderful places to put soothing items.  Relocate the remaining toys into the play room.

Media should not be in the bedroom, as it can cause too much stimulation during night time hours.  If media is necessary, be sure they are all easily turned off.  Avoid putting exciting pictures or caricatures on the walls; opt for happy moments of your child or family pictures.

In the play room, you should try to avoid harsh whites whenever possible.  Opt for off-whites or eggshell colors.  Invest in clear storage totes that are clearly labeled to encourage speech and interaction.   Crash mats are a wise investment, and they can be hidden behind couches or in closets.   Another wonderful therapeutic idea is a small trampoline or a hammock chair.  Some parents prefer beanbag chairs.  Try to avoid many harsh corners, as therapy and activity time can get wild.

Since this play room should be available for other uses, cleaning out a closet for easy storage can help ease transitions.

Sensory challenged children are bombarded by input constantly-whether within the home, or outside.  Giving them a clean, organized space to play and to sleep is an incredibly thoughtful way to help ease their most common stressors.