Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Setting up an autistic child's bedroom

Posted by on Nov. 9, 2009 at 11:07 AM
  • 0 Replies
  • 250 Total Views
November 08, 2009 9:50 PM

Daniela was a pretty child with dark brown eyes and straight black hair. She looked like any other newborn. However, from birth, Daniela was fussy. She cried constantly and just could not focus. Her mother's smile, loud noises, even toys with bright lights - nothing really seemed to interest her. Plus, the little girl's coordination and self awareness just were not there. Her parents knew early on that something was not right.

By the early part of Daniela's second year of life, she was diagnosed with classic autism. Daniela's severity was extreme. Her parents read everything they could to help their daughter develop to her full potential. With help from occupational therapists, speech therapists and special education teachers, Daniela's family developed an individual plan for their child, to work on at home.

One of the first areas the team of professionals focused on was for the family to reorganize Daniela's entire house to foster her growth. The team initially focused on her bedroom. They reorganized the child's personal space into a tightly structured setting specifically designed for Daniela's own personal needs.

Setting up the house for ASD

When organizing your home for a child with autism, first start with the child's bedroom. Always keep in mind that the room needs to be simple and well defined.

Remember that it needs to be very organized, for your child's growth and security. It is important not to leave things scattered around, but rather, to have them in distinct centers.

If possible, you will want to create three primary centers for your child:


A sensory/gross motor area.


A play area.


These centers are in addition to the bed, dresser and, of course, closet areas.

As your child grows, the furniture may change, but the centers can remain the same, for the child's consistency.

Each area in the bedroom will need to be labeled. In some cases, you may even consider an actual object to represent an area, such as a miniature toy bed. Generally, you will use icons. The icons (or labels) should include a picture of the item, with a written word for what it represents. For example, you can have an actual picture icon of the bed with the word "bed" written under it. Later on, you may change the bed picture with an icon representation of the bed. You may also chose not to have the written word "bed" on the picture, for the child's simplification. However, the written word of a center can prove to be helpful later. As your child grows, the area may just be labeled with a written word "bed." (Icons can be made from Boardmaker/PECs Programs.)

The Play Center

The play center may be labeled with an actual picture of the child's toys in the room. You might decide to use a drawing of toys instead of a picture when he or she is able to understand more icons. Later, when the child grows older, the icon may be replaced with just the written words, "Play Center."

Sensory / Gross Motor Area

The sensory/gross motor area in the bedroom can include simple things like play dough, light toys, bubble machines, vibrating objects, or squishy toys. The section can also include more advanced objects including weighted vests for body awareness, aroma therapy, stretching cloth (body sox), spinners, therapy balls and sensory balance beams. (refer

The Work Area

The work area can include a CD player, Magic Markers and writing materials, puzzles, a computer or even interactive educational "toys" like Leap Frog. A small table could be used with small compartments, for ease in getting materials. Later, the table might be replaced with a desk for schoolwork, possible interactive educational computer programs, and/or interactive educational "toys."

And a work space section in the child's room.

Pamela G. Downing, a special education teacher, can be contacted at

by on Nov. 9, 2009 at 11:07 AM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
There are no replies to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)