If your child has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), you may be both saddened and relieved to finally have a solid reason for the behaviors your child exhibits. While you may be pouring money (and research) into therapies and treatments to help your child learn to adapt to the unique way he or she views the world, you're not likely to be spending time thinking about your furniture choices. However, certain types and styles of furniture can pose problems for children with autism, while others can help you create an atmosphere that will make it easier for your child to avoid over-stimulation. Read on to learn more about some furniture options that can help your autistic child thrive while remaining safe from harm.
What should you consider when choosing furniture with your autistic child in mind?
Although autism manifests differently for every affected individual, some common themes include the ability to become completely engrossed in a task at hand and a vulnerability toward becoming over-stimulated by loud sounds, rough textures, or even certain colors.
Because of this combination of factors, you may have the most success by creating diverse "zones" in your home -- placing brightly-colored furniture and paint in a main area along with the television and other interactive appliances, while keeping areas where concentration on the task at hand is important (like the bedroom or dining room) more sedate and less distracting.
For stimulating areas, consider furniture with an abstract look or feel. Chairs with an odd number of legs or other unexpected features can tap into your child's boundless creativity, while textiles or even paint with unusual textures can help your child expand his or her frame of reference without overstimulation.
What are some furniture options you should avoid if your child has autism?
When choosing furniture with an autistic child in mind, you'll always want to be conscious of the potential for injury. Many children with autism can have trouble adjusting to sudden stimuli or controlling their emotions in certain situations, and a sharp-edged table could pose a risk of injury if your child begins throwing a tantrum or having an outburst nearby. By the same token, if your autistic child is an inveterate climber or jumper, furniture that allows him or her to easily become entangled (like a chair with back railings large enough to allow an arm or leg through) could potentially cause injury.
For more design ideas, including metal table legs and other furniture pieces, contact a company like Maidens of Iron, Inc.