What is happening in our day to day lives determines how we choose to decorate our homes. A young bachelor will have different needs than an empty nest couple. An individual with a dog will have different needs than a family of five. And if you have a child with autism, you’ll begin to look at décor in an even different manner.
Many children diagnosed with autism have shown a chemical sensitivity that is often increased around vinyl. While the link is still being tested and documented, if you have vinyl in your home, or are considering changing the flooring in your home, it may be worth considering a move from vinyl to more natural products for the floor.
For many homes with autistic children, carpeting becomes the logical choice for both noise reduction and for safety features. When choosing carpeting, look for natural fibers – a 100 percent wool carpet created with a jute back is best to eliminate toxicity and to minimize the potential of inciting allergies.
Don’t just focus on the carpets; talk with the flooring contractor about the best padding as well. Padding can be made from a variety of materials; choose natural materials to ensure a low toxicity home.
While the type of flooring is important, color is also an issue. Color is a major issue when designing spaces for children with autism, and researches have found ways to reduce stress simply by changing colors and patterns within the décor.
Autistic children see color in a different manner than neurotypical children, with most see seeing color with greater intensity. Red would appear nearly fluorescent, vibrating with energy.
Muted colors, however, can have a calming effect. Cool colors such as soft blues or greens can be soothing. Designs and patterns should be non-linear and non-obtrusive. Anything that can appear as stimuli and energizing should be removed.