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New York Times: Fun ways to outfit your home for an autistic child

Mar 13, 2020, New York Times: Outfitting a Home for a Child on the Autism Spectrum Many of us have a special spot at home that helps us hit the reset button. It might be a favorite chair, a quiet nook, or simply under the covers, in bed. But for children on the autism spectrum or who have sensory processing issues, finding this kind of sanctuary can be challenging, because ordinary items in the home, like a bright lamp or a textured rug, can trigger a negative reaction. Some public or commercial spaces, like schools, airports and sport stadiums, now offer sensory rooms that carry a wide variety of therapy equipment. Setting one up at home, though, need not be as elaborate or expensive…. With one in 59 children now identified with autism spectrum disorder, there are more parents who have experimented with simple home design hacks to help their children cope with their sensory processing issues — where every day auditory, visual and other stimuli are experienced in a heightened way. Although not everyone with sensory processing issues have autism, many do. Conversely, studies conducted by the STAR Institute, a research facility based in Greenwood Village, Colo., suggest that about 75 percent of children on the autism spectrum have significant symptoms of sensory processing disorder. Simple design changes could include soundproofing rooms, installing heavier doors and quieter laundry machines and dishwashers. For children who find too much stimulus in everyday items around the home, finding clutter-free storage ideas is another easy fix…. The costs connected to raising a child with special needs include fees for special schools, doctors, medication and therapies. A study published in 2014 in the journal Pediatrics said the parents of a child with autism paid about $17,000 more per year for health and non-health-related costs than parents with a neurologically typical child. Some retailers now offer more affordable options. Target introduced a line of sensory-friendly furniture for children last April, with each piece costing under $110. …


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