2 Ways to Make an Environment More Visually Friendly for People with Autism

Are you the parent of an autistic child looking to redecorate your home? Perhaps you're a psychologist trying to make your office more welcoming. Whatever your position, if you're trying to create an environment that's autism-friendly, one of the most important things to do is make sure the décor and furnishings aren't visually overstimulating. Many autistic people find that their senses get overloaded quickly; distracting décor can cause immense stress and adverse reactions. When you're decorating your space, keep these 2 tips in mind.

Replace Fluorescent Lighting

Fluorescent bulbs are a popular lighting choice for a multitude of reasons, from their low initial costs to their longevity. However, if you want to create a visually friendly environment for someone with autism, it's best to avoid them. Fluorescent bulbs are known for flickering continuously, and though this flickering can't be detected by the naked eye, many people believe that it can be detected by the brain. As a result, many autists find that they experience migraines, anxiety, or sensory overload in environments with fluorescent lighting. This includes regular CFLs as well as overhead fluorescent lighting. Switching to another lighting type, like incandescent or halogen, can make a room much less stressful for someone with autism. Remember that it's best to call an electrical contractor when making changes to your lighting; trying to handle things yourself could be dangerous.

Switch Patterns for Plain

Does your room or environment have patterned wallpaper or flooring? For neuro-typical people, patterns can add a fun element to a room's décor. For autistic people, patterns can cause a lot of stress. One common cause of sensory overload is visual overstimulation. Patterns can be distracting or cause an autistic person's vision to feel distorted and uncomfortable. Some autistic children will event refuse to walk on patterned floors due to the visual confusion they cause. To avoid this, switch patterned carpets and wallpaper for plain flooring and single-colour paint. Bright white can be overstimulating, so try to use a calming paint colour like blue or pale purple. If you must have patterns, keep the contrast low so they're easy on the eyes. Bear in mind that some autistic people do enjoy visual stimulation and will find a completely plain room distracting. To combat this, add visual diversity to the room in the form of removable items; picture frames and safe ornaments; for example, provide something to look at but can be removed if necessary.