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How to Create Sensory-Friendly Spaces in Your Home

Make every room in your house a little better with these ideas

Published on: May 02, 2019

How to Create Sensory-Friendly Spaces in Your Home

Kid on wiggle seat
Photo:
Wiggle Seat photo by Sensory Solutions

Kitchen and living rooms

Kitchen or dining area

  • Bright lighting can be overstimulating, so Selznick suggests switching out your overhead lights for soft task lighting to create a more relaxing mealtime ambiance.  
  • Make child-friendly kitchen tools — like spatulas and mixing bowls — readily available and invite your child to cook with you. Use a kitchen helper stool at the counter so kids can securely get hands-on while helping out. Create visual boundaries on the floor with washi tape near areas where kids shouldn’t go, such as around the stove. 
  •  Evaluate your seating set-up. Selznick recommends putting kids in chairs that are contained (even if that’s just a basic kitchen chair with arms) and putting a step stool with grippers under their feet to reduce wiggling and squirming during meals.

Multidimensional spaces (living and family rooms and playrooms)

  • Designate one area to be what Selznick calls a “cozy corner,” where your special-needs child can be part of the family but still retreat to a quieter, more private space. Section it off with drapes, curtain panels, or even a kid-friendly tent like this hideaway from Target’s new sensory-friendly home decor line.
  • Offer noise-canceling headphones or earmuffs and a bucket of fidgets for family movie nights. Many kids with special needs will find the typical television volume too loud and struggle to maintain their attention for the length of a film. These small adaptations allow them to participate more comfortably in a group activity.
  • Fill the room with alternative seating for kids who can’t stay in one place for very long. Selznick likes stadium seats, wiggle seats, bean bag chairs and plain-old floor pillows.

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