Autism Proof Your Home: Making A
from About.com: Autism
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If you look at
the homes in which Autistic children live, you will find one
thing in common. They are virtually bare of any "luxuries".
People who come to visit, if there are any, may wonder why the
furniture is old and shows signs of excessive wear, why the
walls don't have knick-knacks, or why the book shelves are
empty. The reason is simple, the parents or other caregivers
have chosen to "Autism Proof" their homes.
"Autism Proofing" is only one of the measures that a parent must
take to provide a safe, secure environment for the autistic
child, but it becomes an important issue when a child is
diagnosed as Autistic. Many people do not know how to make their
homes safe from the damage caused by this child's condition or
how to make their home safer for the child. In view of this
fact, let's take a look at some things which can be done to
protect the child from his/her environment and the environment
from the child.
One of the first things that can be done is to make sure that
you choose very heavy home furnishings. Some Autistic children
like to move furniture, tip it over in a fit of anger (or
frustration) or use it to reach spaces in the home that would
otherwise be inaccessible. If heavy furniture isn't an option,
some parents have chosen to bolt the furniture to the walls, in
order to prevent physical damage both to the child and to the
Another action which may be taken is to replace furnishings in
the areas where the child has access with old, used furnishings
from a garage sale. While this may cause the living room to not
resemble something from "House Beautiful", as if it ever could
with an Autistic child in the home, it will save on the expense.
It's not so bad if the child tears up a $50 sofa, but if it's a
$500 sofa, that's another matter. Choosing an older, sturdy
design for furniture is a way of saving money and frustration
for the parent. If you do have areas which you want to keep
nice, lock them up so that the child doesn't have access to
One of the best things you can do for your child, autistic or
not, is to childproof electrical appliances. This means covering
wall sockets, eliminate extension cords, or cover them with
rubber channels. Even if you have to have additional sockets
installed, it is still cheaper than a hospital bill for
electrical burns or shocks.
Some things that most parents don't think of, but which are
dangerous are houseplants, cigarettes and cat litter boxes. Many
houseplants are poisonous if eaten, and children, especially
Autistic ones, often like the sensory experience of tasting
things. Along with this danger is the one of a flower pot
falling on someone. Autistic children often like to reach for
things or climb, and if a hanging plant fell and struck them,
the resulting injuries could be serious. Cigarettes can be quite
dangerous if eaten. Nicotine is a potent poison if ingested, and
leaving a cigarette in the ashtray, even if it is not lit, can
result in injury. Cat litter boxes are a curiosity to many
Autistic children. Since much research indicates that Autism is
at least linked to immune system deficiencies, and since litter
boxes carry diseases, it would make sense to keep access to
litter boxes to a minimum.
As you can see, there are a lot of precautions which must be
taken with an Autistic or PDD child. Some are for the protection
of property, but property can be replaced if damaged. Much more
important is the protection of the child from illness or injury.
As your summer, with an autistic child at home all day, begins,
take a moment and check your house for potential danger spots.
If you do, you won't "live to regret it".