Interiors has always been a big love of mine, a passion that was passed down from my mother. As a child I moved to 8 different countries and to over 15 houses. My mother always managed to make the house we lived in, whether it be rented or bought, a home for us. Even though we were in different countries like Korea and Hong Kong, our house felt the same as it had back in Ireland. This was quite a mission for my mum to do over and over again.
When I become a mother I always strived to create that sense of ‘Home” a safe haven, for my children, as well. When Dylan got diagnosed with Autism and I started to research more in to the behaviour side of things, the same thing kept catching my eye. How children with ASD have difficulty with sensory processing. How even the slightest smell can set them off, or how colours have a direct effect on how we feel. I, as a wanna be interior designer, really sat up and started to look in to all of this in depth. I then went on a mission to make my house as “ Autism” friendly as I could.
I started with the colour on the wall, picking out a colour pallet of soft blues, greys and off whites. I wanted my house to feel modern and clean but also calming. I painted Dylan and Luca’s room in a colour called Blackened by Farrow and Ball ( you can colour match this in any good paint shop for the same effect with out the price tag) I did a feature wall of stars as I wanted to give the room some depth and character without over powering the room. I also didn’t want the room to feel stark and uninviting. I then matched the curtains and the lamp shade to go with the feature wall to give the room a theme ( Dylan also loves stars) I got the wall paper, curtains and shades, all from The Great little trading company.
With the carpets we chose a very thick underlay and a soft carpet so that it made it feel cosy and helped with the acoustics in the room. If you have wooden floors a big soft rug can also give the same feel.
For lighting we choose to use a lamp and a salt lamp for a softer light , as the over head light can sometimes be too much for Dylan. The salt lamp is also great to have on all through the night as it gives a very soft warm glow and is much nicer that the plug in night lights. It also doesn’t get hot and is great for sensory touch and feel.
For the rest of the house we painted it in Ammonite ( another farrow and ball colour that you can get colour matched) and we have a lot of soft furnishings like big pillows and throws. All the photo frames we have in our house are made of plastic and not glass just in case they get thrown on the floor. I keep the pictures large and only a hand full of people that are in Dylans life.
I also keep a few boxes of toys out at a time and change these up every few months. This way Dylan doesn’t get over whelmed and actually enjoys the toys he is playing with, and its always new and exciting. We keep our house cozy and warm and favour lightly scented soy vanilla candles and fresh flowers to keep our house smelling nice ( which is hard with three boys ) in stead of air fresheners.
Keeping everything in its place and clutter free helps keep Dylans sensory levels in check and he knows where everything is.
It doesn’t have to be expensive to make your house sensory friendly, just a lick of paint and a good de clutter and your almost there.