Safety Tips: Buying Furniture For A Child On The Autism Spectrum

Posted on: 19 February 2015

Shopping for furniture for your child's room can be a fun and exciting process, but when you have a child on the autism spectrum, it's not as easy as just looking for the style or color that fits your child's preferences. You'll have to consider sensory and safety factors that other parents may not have to be concerned with. If you're new to furniture shopping for special needs kids, it can be a confusing process. Here's a look at some of the things you should remember when you're looking for furniture for your child on the spectrum.

Put Durability First

Keep in mind that kids on the spectrum can be hard on furniture. Not only does hyperactivity often accompany spectrum disorders, but meltdowns and sensory-seeking behaviors can lead to furniture damage if you don't opt for durable, heavy-duty products. Make sure that any furniture you choose is heavy enough that your child can't lift it or move it alone. This is essential, because during a meltdown, overturned furniture can be dangerous.

Avoid Breakables

Although the dresser with the large vanity mirror might look nice and could encourage your child to take a more active role in getting dressed and ready for the day, remember that the mirror could potentially be broken. Mirrors and other glass objects can be serious hazards in a bedroom for a child with autism. It's always better to choose the safer option instead.

Choose Rounded Edges or Install Bumpers

One of the most common issues for kids on the spectrum is a lack of coordination. In addition, clumsiness is a common complaint. For kids who have autism, both fine and gross motor skills can develop a bit slower and are more difficult to refine. This often leads to injuries and accidents, so steer clear of furniture with sharp or hard edges. Whenever possible, choose furniture with rounded or padded edges. If you buy bed rails, opt for some plastic covers to pad them. If you're going to add a table and chairs to the room, opt for a round table and rounded chairs or bean bag chairs.

Think About Sensory Enhancements

One of the best things you can do when you're shopping for furniture for your child on the autism spectrum is to look for furniture that's designed for sensory disorders. Kids on the autism spectrum might have issues with anything rough or hard. If so, you can find sofa beds, futons, bean bag chairs and other furniture that's soft or covered with fabric that's got bright colors or unique textures. Think about the type of sensory input that your child thrives with or the type of sensory materials that soothe meltdowns and then consider your furniture choices accordingly.

Don't Discount Basic Safety Features

Depending on which end of the spectrum your child is on, you may need to think about other safety considerations. If your child is a problematic wanderer, meaning that he or she tends to wander at night or has a history of wandering out the door, that's a sure sign that you need to invest in safety gates for the bedroom door. You might also want to add an alarm sensor to the gate so that you know if your child manages to climb it

You'll also want to find clips or ties for any chains and cords around the room. For example, if you install blinds or hang curtains, add a safety clip to keep the ties out of reach. This will protect your child from any accidental injury.

Your ultimate goal when you're furniture shopping is to have fun and find things that your child will be happy with. When you remember these few tips, you can approach the shopping process with the confidence that your child will be both safe and comfortable in his or her space. For more information, contact a company like Design Center Furniture.