Designing homes or adapting them for children and adults with Autism should not be taken lightly.
First identified more than 50 years ago, Autism Spectrum Disorder affects one percent of UK children and adults, which equates to approximately 600,000 people. Autism is a life-long developmental condition, characterised by the difficulty to process sensory stimulation, impairment in social interactions and communication skills.
As a result many people with Autism suffer from a high degree of stress, which in turn can have an effect on their behaviour. They may display obsessional behaviour, be hyperactive, or have severe tantrums, all of which can have implications for the environment that they live and work in.
Today we know that the environment has an influence on behaviour. Environments designed specifically to create a calm, non-stimulating and safe space can be very influential in maintaining a sense of well-being, which is essential to us all.
At Design for Independence we rely on the knowledge of carers and other therapists involved with a client, as well as the client themselves, to guide us in the process of coming up with the most suitable design. Our occupational therapists take into consideration a variety of factors including:
– Daily Routines
– Patterns of behaviour
– Ability to carry out personal care tasks and the support required with these activities
– Reactions to various sources of sensory stimulation
– Awareness of danger and personal safety
All of these elements help us to come up with a design which encourages independence, ensures safety and reduces anxiety. The design always takes into account the carers’ needs and ensures they are able to support the client efficiently and safely.
We often find that people with Autism feel most safe and secure when they are at home – supporting them to create a home environment they are comfortable in is crucial in improving quality of life for both the client and their family.