Home of Autism-PDD.net To Message Boards Site Map Free Autism Seminars

colors for autistic children

Kellie try making him a corner in a designated area and when you see him stressed take him there consistently to soothe himself...... if you see him making an area redirect him to his special spot. Maybe that will help keeping it localized.

Nicholas has a few of these places in our house, he has one in his room near the window he has a big beanbag and comforter on the floor there and pillows and soft big bears and some books, he loves it...he also has one similar in his playroom, we even put a mattress there on the floor and he has a blast, he loves to snuggle himself into a corner, its sooo cute and if he's really stressed or overtired he'll go in there and lie down and watch his "quiet time" video or listen to soft music and he'll take a nap...I highly recommend them!  I actually would like one of my own! LOL 

You know I almost forgot, one time we took the big comforters and put them in the parlor and turned off the lights and put all the pillow on the floor and all three of us cuddled and watched a movie before he went to bed...and that little bugger will now sometimes take my comforter off my bed and drag it to the parlor to reinact the night LOL...like a family quite corner, how funny!  DH will ask him, "got some plans for us buddy?" and we laugh, he's so little & determined draggin this big o' comforter behind him LOL 

xo

Ali

 

nicksmomluvshim38568.5512037037Lately Luke has been piling all his favorite stuffed animals and his blankie into a corner (or on the couch) and laying or rolling among them.  I couldn't understand why!  I guess it has something to do with creating a 'calming corner' for himself!  Now if only we could keep it localized to one area instead of him making little corners all throughout the house!

Kellie
great info.thanks to all of you.mom2carlo

hello everyone have not posted in a while. i am interested in changing the color of my sons play room where we are most of the time. does anyone know of certain colors that will calm an autistic child. it is now a light blue. and i do not want to paint it something that will throw him really off.

I found an interesting article regarding decorating and it specifically mentioned autistic kids in the end heres the link .... http://www.ratcliffarch.com/news/2005/articles/news_asid_ico n.pdf
its a PDF file so I cant copy and paste it but if you go to page  the end of page 6 and all of page 7 specifically .....

also it mentions the calm cornew. I have done this in my sons bedroom in a corner between 2 dressers I placed a floded comforter on the floor with pillows against the wall, some extra light blankets, and a few stuffed animals... I also took a plastic tupperware box and filled it with small hand figits as well as  placed his handheld CD player and headphones there with a nature sound CD in it. Its wonderful! Sometimes, when hes had a long day he sleeps there

i was going to paint my daughter's room, but didnt think about how the colors would affect her. its white right now, i wanted to do light blue and light green.

thank you for bringing this up. i would like to know too.

Hi guys!

My guy created his own calming corner. At first I couldn't understand why sometimes he wouldn't fall asleep in his bed. He would take his blankets and "froggies"(stuffed animals) and pillow and put them in the corner next to his chest of drawers. I guess I'll have to get him another set of blankets.  

Michelle

thanks for the great information. my sons bedroom is primary royal blue. gee i wonder if that has something to do with his moods during the day when he is up there. the play room is a lighter blue do i dont know what color to change it to-i hate to paint.

Wow Michelle, great information!  (LOVE the corner idea!!!)  I thank you too!  Even though I wasn't planning anything, I think I might do something now.  You got me going, and I've started looking into this too....here are a couple more sites:
http://decorativeartsbyjep.com/sense-kids.html

http://www.cfcp.org/help_sensory.asp

Happy decorating~Lesley

horanimals38567.572025463

Thanks for the links Lesley!  

AH HA! Had to leave earlier and didnt have time to try then..... Heres the specific part on autistic kids...........

Special Needs Children Require Additional Considerations

The wide range of ages encompassed in the term children isn't the only difference designers should take into account. Some children, for example, have special needs.

Take autism, the fastest growing developmental disability and a diagnosis now being given to more children than ever before. As many as 1.5 million Americans both children and adults are thought to have this condition. 

When her son was diagnosed with autism six years ago, A.J. Paron-Wildes, Allied Member ASID, manager of business development at Bellacor.com, carpets in areas where kids are likely to be crawling around on the floor.

Parents worry about how dirty the floor is, says Lee. But the textile industry has done a great job of creating washable textiles so we don't have to always have vinyl on the floor and upholstery to satisfy our clients.

Designers need to think beyond carpeting and upholstery when it comes to infection control, however. Staff at Riley Hospitals  outpatient center, for example, nixed Camas idea for putting marbles at a nursing station.

They're very concerned about infection control, especially with oncology patients, says Cama. Kids have a lot of curiosity and sticky fingers from runny noses. Instead, Cama introduced sculptural elements that you don't have to touch to enjoy: Using dichroic glass, she created balcony handrails that change color as people walk past. It interacts with you, says Cama.

Finally, designers of health care settings for children should remember that children have a right to privacy just as adults do. Citing the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, Lee emphasizes the need to protect childrens health information.  Just because they're children doesn't mean that they don't deserve privacy for their records and any other information about them, he points out.

Schools Can Be Less Intimidating

Hospitals aren't the only settings that kids can find scary. Schools can be, too. Cozy touches and familiar decorative motifs can help make schools less intimidating for younger students and more pleasant for everyone.

During an expansion of the Seven Hills School in Walnut Creek, Calif., the Emeryville, Calif.-based architecture firm Ratcliff echoed the barn shapes of the schools original structures by using simple shapes, barn-like roof lines and cupolas, exposed trusses and natural wood finishes. We tried to create a feeling of warm and friendly homey-ness by picking up on that rural character, says Dan Wetherell, AIA, a principal at Ratcliff.

When we structure the environment for autistic kids, all kids do better.

ĘC A. J. PARON-WILDES, ALLIED MEMBER ASID

Industry Partner of ASID, in Minneapolis, started researching ways to make their home environment more conducive to his well-being. Now Paron-Wildes helps ensure that other families homes, occupational and speech therapy offices, public and private schools, group homes, specialized autism centers and other venues arent making things worse.

Lighting is one design element that can be especially problematic for autistic children. Most facilities use cheap fluorescent lights, says Paron- Wildes, and autistic children are so hyper-sensitive that they can see or hear the flickering. To them, its like strobe lights, she explains. In some cases, it has even caused seizures. Designers should opt instead for incandescent lights or very high-quality fluorescent lights. Ensuring that the lighting is even without bright spots is also essential.

A subdued color scheme also helps calm autistic kids, says Paron-Wildes, who favors mauves, browns and other neutrals. Most of these children react badly to primary colors, she says. It freaks them out! Designers should also avoid extreme contrasts.

Simplicity is also fundamental. These kids are very visually oriented and look for visual cues to read people and places, says Paron-Wildes. When autistic children walk into very complex environments, they don't know what's important and what's not. They try to remember everything. Instead of listening to a doctor, for example, a child may fixate on a busy pattern on the wall or floor.

Because tantrums are so much a part of autism, Paron-Wildes also recommends creating a calming corner. Autistic children often find pressure soothing, so she typically equips these safe zones with piles of pillows and even blankets with built-in weights.

These strategies don't just work for autistic children, says Paron-Wildes. Making environments suitable for autistic kids also helps kids with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder calm down. In fact, says Paron- Wildes, such environments help all children. When we structure the environment for autistic kids, all kids do better, she says.

Rebecca A. Clay is an award-winning freelance writer in Washington, D.C.

MsSteelersFan38567.6450231482

http://www.patientcenters.com/autism/news/tips_life.html#dec orating

Decorating for autism

The homes of most young children with autistic-spectrum disorders have a certain uniformity. After a few incidents of shattered heirlooms and leaning towers of furniture, accessible areas tend to get a makeover in the direction of a simple, stripped-down look. Baby gates, locked doors, childproofing devices, and the like abound.

When shopping for new furniture, pay extra attention to sturdy, easy-to-clean pieces. You may want to use sticky-back Velcro or foam to secure a few knick-knacks, but it's best to relegate the family china and precious ornaments to an inaccessible room or a locked (and hard to overturn or shake) china cabinet.

Bunk beds and other furnishings that invite acrobatics may not be a good idea for your child. Then again, they might, if your child tends to be unresponsive to her environment, but gets excited about climbing up to an upper bunk or bouncing on a springy mattress.

Likewise, shelves that could be used as steps up to precipitous locations should be removed or very securely anchored.

Even though he couldn't walk yet, Ian kept using our dining room chairs to climb up onto the table. Several times he made his way up there in seconds, knocking items onto the floor and risking a fall of several feet. We solved the problem by chaining the dining room chairs to the wall, one in each corner. It made visitors scratch their heads when they saw us do it, but to use the chairs at the table, we just unhooked them.

Some children seem to have a compulsion to move furniture around, often using it to build ramps up to places they shouldn't be. Solutions include:

  • Removing wheels or plastic sliders from furniture legs

  • Choosing very heavy furnishings

  • Weighting or blocking the movement of furniture with heavy concrete blocks hidden beneath stuffed couches and chairs

  • Literally attaching furniture to walls or floor with hook-and-eye fasteners or other hardware

For the early years at least, it's good if you can learn to appreciate thrift-store chic. You'll feel a lot worse if your child picks holes in a $1,000 couch than if he damages a $75 sofa from a garage sale. Slipcovers are a good idea for protecting nice fabrics.

If you want to have one or more nice rooms, either lock them or be prepared to stand guard at all times. Experienced parents can attest that the latter option is not worth it--you definitely have better things to do with your days than worrying about stains on your Persian rugs. There will probably be a time when you can enjoy some of the finer things again, but now may not be that time.

Childproofing dangerous items

Most parents of crawling babies and toddlers take pains to remove hazards from their reach. You may need to continue and even expand this program with a child who has an ASD. Funding may be available through government developmental-delay or mental health departments or private agencies to help cover the expense of these modifications.

Items that can pose dangers include:

  • Glass items and windows. Some children seem to enjoy the sound of broken glass. This may necessitate using window treatments that can be locked down or even boarding up some windows. Cutting a piece of foam to fit within the interior window well is an inexpensive solution that has worked for some parents. Replacing the glass in windows or picture frames with unbreakable plastic may save accidents.

  • Window blind cords. These present a danger of hanging if the child puts her head inside the loop. Simply cut through the loop. For persistent offenders, you may want to cut the cords very short as well.

    Take a walk through your house with your child's size and interests in mind. If you can notice and remove potential problems before your child sees them, you've done well. Here are some things to watch out for:

  • Exposed electrical outlets. A variety of plugs and covers are available for these.

  • Exposed electrical wiring and extension cords. Obviously, any exposed wires should be walled off somehow. Extension cords can either be eliminated by adding additional wall outlets or stapled to the wall. Rubber channels are available for making them inaccessible; these can usually be found at office supply stores.

  • Electric fans. Box fans are less dangerous, but little fingers may still fit in. Experiment with fan placement. You might consider using ceiling fans, swamp coolers, or air conditioning instead in hot weather.

  • Stove burners. Burner covers can eliminate the attraction of fire or glowing coils, but can also cause burns if touched when hot. Some parents remove the knobs from their stove, place a barrier in front of the stove, add a disconnect valve for the gas behind the stove or unplug it when not in use, or add locking doors to the kitchen.

  • Matches, lighters, and combustibles. Lock these up, and watch out for guests who carelessly leave lighters or matches on tables.

  • Household cleaning supplies, paints, solvents, and other chemicals. A securely locked cabinet is a must if your child tastes and smells everything. Some young autistic children have incurred serious brain damage by repeatedly sniffing gasoline, glue, or other solvents. Of course, these items are sometimes abused as drugs by adolescents and teens.

  • Medications, including herbal remedies and vitamins. Most people are unaware that aspirin and Tylenol top the list of medication overdose causes--in other words, keep everything that's medicine out of reach. Securely locked bathroom cabinets can work, but storing medications in the bathroom is actually not that great an idea due to the moisture level. You might install a similar cabinet in another room or use a simple lock-box. Small cash boxes work well and are available at office supply stores for a reasonable price. For convenience's sake, you may wish to keep one week's medications, supplements, and vitamins counted out in a plastic pill box, then keep the pill box in your purse or another more secure location. Be especially wary about leaving chewable medications and vitamins within reach.

  • Houseplants. A few are out-and-out poisonous, but heavy pots coupled with tantalizing fronds and tendrils can lead to hurt heads and major messes. Use ceiling hooks to hang trailing plants well out of the way, or try using sticky-back Velcro or foam to secure pots to a flat surface.

  • Cigarettes. You would think they'd taste too horrible to eat, but some kids will do it. Tobacco can be quite dangerous when eaten. Keep cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, and full ashtrays under wraps.

  • Alcohol. It's dangerous to mix even a little with many of the medications used for PDDs, and it has plenty of inherent dangers of its own. If you like to keep a selection of liquor, wine, or beer at home, you might consider a locked liquor cabinet, or keeping a separate refrigerator in a locked garage or basement.

  • Cat litter boxes. Cat feces carry disease and should not be handled by pregnant women or anyone with immune-system problems. The covered boxes may or may not be less attractive to marauding children. Protect the room where the cat box is with a baby gate, or add a cat door to a locked door.

  • Stairs and stair banisters. Baby gates or locked doors at the top and/or bottom of stairs may be enough. If the stairs need to be available to your child, make sure that any slats and banisters are too closely spaced for heads or bodies to slip through. If they aren't, you could add more slats or change the banister's style or position. Another solution is blocking access with a net, piece of fabric, or sheet of wood. Commercial stair nets are available that tie securely to open banisters and slats in a stairwell.

  • Guns and other weapons. These do not belong in the homes of children with neurological disorders, particularly teenagers. The combination of a high potential for depression and easy access to lethal force is very dangerous, and younger children with PDDs may be at risk simply due to their impulsivity. As some recent, tragic cases have shown, storing guns in a locked box under the parents' bed or in a gun cabinet does not guarantee safety around determined teens. If you enjoy shooting sports or hunting, see if you can store your guns at a shooting range or hunt club.

  • Knives. Sharp knives are common household tools, of course, but they also pose dangers. A drawer latch may be sufficient for keeping kitchen knives out of reach, or you may need to install a keyed lock on the knife drawer. Watch out for knives and other sharp kitchen tools that may be left in the sink, on countertops, or in the dishwasher.

Safety precautions

Some children with autistic-spectrum disorders seem to have a Houdini-like ability to escape their rooms, homes, and yards. This would be an amazing talent if it didn't cause families so much fear and heartache. Unfortunately, incidents of harm to autistic individuals are depressingly common. In recent years at least three autistic children in the US have died in drowning accidents after escaping from their homes. Another spent several harrowing days alone in the Florida Everglades before being rescued-an experience that the nonverbal child's pictures indicated may have included an encounter with an alligator.

Parents of all these children had spent considerable time and expense to secure their homes-all it took was a second for the child to slip out of view. If escapes are a problem for your family, please consider using the services of a professional security consultant. You may be able to get help from government developmental delay or mental health agencies, or private agencies, to find and even pay for these services. Most people don't wish to turn their homes into fortresses, but in some cases it's the most caring thing you can do. It could very well save a life.

Security options that parents have tried, with varying degress of success, follow:

  • Installing key locks or doorknobs with twist-locks facing outward on bedroom doors can keep a child securely in his room at night. Obviously, toileting could be a problem with this solution. An intercom or buzzer to summon parents can solve this problem (as could a chamber pot, for those willing to try it).

  • Latch-style locks, hook-and-eye hardware, or chain-locks installed at the top of interior doors can limit access to certain rooms, or keep a child in one room. Of course, these can be foiled easily when a child gets taller, becomes strong enough to force the door, or figures out how to stand on a chair.

  • Double- or triple-bolt security doors can slow down a would-be escapee, and some types can be unlocked only from the inside with a key. While expensive, they are tremendously jimmy-proof. Keep the keys well hidden, of course--on your person, if need be. Fire regulations may require that an exterior-lock key be secured in a fire-box or stored at the nearest fire station in case of emergency.

  • Windows can be nailed or latched shut.

  • Bars can also be placed on windows, as many homeowners in urban areas already do. Like key locks, these can be a fire hazard. A security consultant, or perhaps your local fire department, may be able to come up with ideas. Some types of bars have interior latches.

  • Alarms are available that will warn you if a nocturnal roamer is approaching a door or window. Other types only sound when the door or window is actually opened. Depending on your child's speed, the latter may not give you enough response time.

  • Obviously, fences and gates are a good idea for backyards. Some types are less easily scaled than others. Although it might seem cruel, in extreme cases a child's safety could be secured by using electric fencing (usually this involves a single "live" wire at the top of a tall fence). Electric fencing kits are available at some hardware stores or at farm-supply stores.

  • For gates, key locks are more secure than latches

  • Electronic locks of various types are another option, including remote-control and keypad varieties. These can be used for garage doors, gates, or exterior doors.

In some cities, the local police department is sensitive to the needs and special problems of the disabled. Officers may be available to provide information about keeping your child or adult patient safe and secure, whether he lives in your home, in an institution or group home, or independently in the community. Some also have special classes to teach self-defense skills to disabled adults.

A few police departments also keep a registry of disabled people whose behavior could be a hazard to their own safety or whose behavior could be misinterpreted as threatening. Avail yourself of this service if your child is an escape artist, has behaviors that could look like drunkenness or drug use to an uninformed observer, uses threatening words or gestures when afraid, or is extremely trusting of strangers.

People with ASDs can have a bracelet or necklace made with their home phone number, an emergency medical contact number, or the phone number of a service that can inform the caller about their diagnosis. Labels you might want to have engraved on this item include:

  • Nonverbal
  • Speech-impaired
  • Multiple medications
  • Medications include ... (list)
  • Epilepsy (or other medical condition)

Members of the general public, and even some safety officials, may not know the word "autistic." They are even more unlikely to know what autistic spectrum disorder, pervasive developmental disorder, PDD, or ASD means.

If this article has conjured up visions of a nightmarish life with your child, please remember that most people with ASDs do not experience severe problems in the home that cannot be helped with therapeutic, medical, or educational interventions. However, as experienced parents can tell you, once one problem behavior is extinguished it invariably seems to be replaced by a new one. Parents always need to keep on their toes, and it can be exhausting.

Our son also has a calming corner in his bedroom. Instead of blankets the floor is covered with squish pillows which he loves. I also just painted his room last week. His favorite colors are blue and yellow. I painted the ceiling and trim bright blue and the walls bright yellow. He loves it. He goes into his room and you can hear him saying "Blue, Yellow, YEA" and clapping his hands. I know most kids with ASD probably wouldn't do well with a room those colors, but I went with what my son likes and he is doing great with it. Hope this helps.

~Brooke~

this is all really good. There are  nights that Ben has trouble falling to aleep. I should remember to try moving his beanbag into his room. It has a most wonderful effect on him. I like the idea of a 'calming place" for him. I wish there were room for one in his classroom. He is growing to dislike school very mc. He had a subdtitute teacher, unexpectantly. that was disaster to him. I need to remind the case manager and counselor about the beanbag in another room.....

Janet

Well, being an artist, I tend to go for cheerful colors (yellow, orange (makes ya hungry--*wink,wink* got some orange plates and cups for her and it works, still not the exact foods I want her to eat though) and my daughter is attracted to them as well.

 

Pastels may go easier on the eyes for some kids, like seagreen and pale lavender, light yellows and so on---bright colors will cause more activity---all depends on the child

 

I also agree with water fountains---they are not only calming, they are fun to watch!  I have a few around and am planning on going to Lowes to get one of the larger plug ins----the sound of water really keeps the whole family relaxed

 

Aromatherapy may also be something to consider (light scents)--it helps both my daughter and I as we both suffer from migraines---cinnamon works wonders sometimes

I also allow some soothing music once in awhile, sounds of nature (like a gentle rain).

 

Good links and this is a great group!!!

 

Copyright Autism-PDD.net