Sensory Room Steps
0 comment Wednesday, July 23, 2014 |
I've always wanted to make my son's room into a more welcoming space - this has always been a bit of a problem as sensory rooms are, by their nature, extremely expensive. So expensive that it would be folly for me to spend the upward-to-�10,000 for a room when my son would get bored with the displays in a week - hence I've instilled a rule that toys for sprog can cost no more than �30 a month; which still gives him plenty of things to get.
Strange in a child with autism, my son seems to enjoy change, provided you tell him in advance what's coming. That requires a bit of timing; inform him too soon and he obsesses over the change and will ask constantly when something is about to happen (hence many people using the "How many sleeps" method with helping autistic children understand time). He has a year calendar on which we can mark off his days for Daddy Days or other events, and that also helps.
The room has been something I've asked him about; I asked him what kind of paint he'd like. He's in a blue phase at the moment so blue sky with clouds is the current request. I've told him I've been looking at things for his room and when I went onto a sensory toy site he pointed out things he liked (which seemed to be just about everything!). It's given me ideas as to what will stimulate him, and what we can do to help give him an outlet for his exuberance as well as to keep him safe.
The paint is needed anyway - he's manage to peel wallpaper off the walls and the place looks quite shabby. But I've been turned onto something called blackboard paint; essentially, a few coats of the stuff covers your wall in a nontoxic "blackboard" material that you can colour with chalk, wipe clean (apparently Coca Cola works best; good thing I don't drink the stuff if it can clean a blackboard, good grief...) and then draw again! While dust was a bit of a balking point as the house is more than dusty enough, I also found liquid chalk paints that go on neatly, but without the dust issue. So score there!
My son tends to run and jump a lot. While his room is too small for a soft play centre, I can still put down some rather thick playmat to at least cut a good portion of the noise and chance for bruising himself. I've also ordered him a giant beanbag (double strength, two layers and extreme seam-locking to prevent splots and spills) which he should be able to fall onto as much as he pleases - the thing is nearly the size of his twin bed, can be folded any which way and shouldn't break even under his ministrations.
He's been having issues with being in the dark (he's been sleeping with his overhead light on for months now) so I've managed to find a few more sensory toys which light up and change colour, a few that even dance with the rhythm of music - all rather cheap. On top of this, I'e purchased a ceiling poster of a nightscape - a rather large one that only looks like a white sheet of paper during the day, and at night starts to glow rather convincingly. I considered painting the whole ceiling with the same stuff but relented as I don't know what his reaction will be - no good to me if he panics almost immediately, and I can at least take the poster down!
Boxes and boxes of books - mostly from his father when he and his sisters were children - have been put away; sprog isn't reading yet though he is making more attempts and showing an interest. However, sorting through four boxes of books to make a choice for an evening story made it more trouble than it was worth. So now, there's one box of books which are on sprog's reading level, all where he can get to them, and the rest have been put away.
Toys sprog has lost interest in are now either in a box for the charity shop, stowed away to be brought out during the summer when they might be more interest and "new" (though like most children on the spectrum, Sprog's memory is nearly photographic and nothing is ever quite new to him again), or bagged and thrown away if they were broken or pieces were missing, etc.
So at least now it's a lot tidier! I'm getting things in place for the next stage - yes, I will be taking photos as I go!