Tuesday 7 September 2021

Keeping our home safe for our autistic kids

We are hoping that we can do some work to our home soon. We really need to do something about the leaky bathroom and with the boys sleeping so badly need them to have their own rooms. In thinking about how we would adapt our house, I was reminded about all the things we thought about after the boys got their initial diagnoses.  Every thing was seen as a trip hazard when I realised Anthony was falling over so often do to sensory needs and processing difficulties.  And that was just the start... David was totally unaware of danger.  So what did I look at.. and am still keeping in mind now?

Changing spaces 

Depending on the age of your child or children and their individual circumstances, we found it a good idea to play around with the furniture in the house.  See what works for them and configure your furniture based on what activities they’re likely to be involved in. So if your child is happy to be seated for longer periods, then ensure that there are clean surfaces and appropriate chairs. 

 If your child moves around a lot, then making sure there are clear pathways and “lanes” in between your furniture and belongings could be useful.  This helped the kids avoid tripping up as much.  Any corners were covered in corner guards we even used an all round bumper on the lounge coffee table. 

Organising our autistic kids' bedrooms makes a big difference to their ability to become independent so it's worth thinking too. 

Locks and alarms

It may seem strange at first, but if you have a child that is prone to running away or pulling disappearing stints, then you will want to invest in locks and alarms.  We still have our front door locked most of the time with the key.... not to stop anyone coming in, but to make sure David didn't wander out onto the street.  Some parents also worry about their children at night and so where it’s appropriate, you may want to consider monitoring systems on bedroom doors for example.  We use a simple motion sensor light outside the boys room so we are alerted it they leave their bedroom.  The important thing to know here is that while this could sound a little strange to you, it is important that parents get a good rest at night too.

Electrical appliances and sockets

You also want to make sure that your appliances can’t be accidentally turned on and that wall sockets are secure. Don’t overlook cables that hang from work surfaces in sheds or garages and always make sure that doors to dryers and washing machines are secured too.  Refrigerators can be lockable as well especially if you think your child is small enough to get trapped inside.  Make sure everything is in a good condition too and that there's nothing broken os sticking out that could cause injury.  Get those refrigerator parts ordered or the dodgy toaster replaced before they can cause an accident.  

Remember fire safety

We all know about fire alarms but helping our kids know about them is also important. A loud alert can be painful for some kids with autism so test is if you can so they know what the noise is.  Keep your fire resources like blankets etc out of reach of the kids.  Our windows are all fitted with window locks to prevent the kids falling out the windows - if you've got these make sure you have plenty of keys near them so you can escape if you need to. 

The important thing to know is that you are not alone. There is a lot of resources available to you and it’s true, you’re going to be facing challenges that you never had to think of before but one does get more equipped as time moves on. Love is the ultimate guide here and you’ll figure it out. 

Stay safe.

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