6 tips to creating an autism-friendly environment

28 Mar, 2023

In this article, we’ll be discussing 6 ways in which you can make your home more of an autism-friendly environment. Creating a supportive and comfortable space for your family member can be a challenge, but with the right strategies, it can be very beneficial. Read on to learn more about how to create an autism-friendly home.


What is Autism?

Autism is a lifelong developmental condition characterised by difficulties in social interaction, communication, and sensory sensitivities, as well as restricted and repetitive interests and behaviours.

The ‘autism spectrum’ describes the diversity of challenges and degree of impact people with autism might experience, which can vary from person to person. In Australia, around 1 in 70 people are estimated to be on the autism spectrum, which is approximately 353,880 individuals. It is also known to be four times more common in males than females.

1. Provide structure

In order to create more of an autism-friendly environment in your home, it is important to have a clear and consistent visual schedule or calendar made up of predictable routines.

This can help the individual learn what to expect, when to expect it and how to react to certain situations.

Involving the individual in setting these tasks can also their learning and understanding.

2. Prepare for changes

Understand and acknowledge that unexpected changes can be unsettling. By utilising tip 1, you can integrate new things or provide alerts about upcoming changes into your established schedule, allowing for a smoother transition and a more autism-friendly environment in your home.


3. Keep things visual

People with autism respond better when using their visual detection and identification. Remember it is important to use this to your advantage and make schedules, activities, and daily life as visual as possible.


4. Minimise distracting stimuli

Associate certain activities to certain areas of the house and keep this consistent. Use soft natural lighting to boost mood and attention and keep certain colours in certain areas of the house to help with activity association.

For example, bright colours for fun family activities and quieter activities like reading should have soft colours and textures around the immediate area. This will ensure you are creating a more autism-friendly environment in your home.

5. Get help for challenging times

Timing some support around periods of change or disruption to your routine can be beneficial.

Take notice of who in your family the individual may find more calming in certain situations, leverage this and keep the focus on celebrating successes.

You must not also be afraid to ask for help, as you are not alone in this journey. Occupational Therapists are one of many supports available to help during challenging times and can help the individual overcome high-stress situations.

OT working with young children

6. Sensory Needs

People with autism often experience challenges processing the most common everyday sensory information. They may also over-react (hyper-sensitive) or under-react (hypo-sensitive) to some of the lesser-known senses: vestibular and proprioceptive. These senses impact balance, motor skills, and body awareness.

A person’s responses to sensory experience may fluctuate from one day to the next. Weighted blankets, soft weighted bears, and fidgeted toys are just some things that can support your loved one with autism.

Get in touch

By making simple changes you can adapt your home environment to have a positive impact on your autistic family member. Understanding what works and what doesn’t for each individual and ensuring you adapt accordingly is key, and always remember that you don’t have to navigate this alone.

An Occupational Therapist may be able to assist your family member to better manage their emotions, build on their strengths, and overcome their limitations to improve their ability to participate in social interactions.

To learn more about the guidance your family could receive from Gen Physio, contact our team on 1300 122 884.

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