Is Christmas the most wonderful time of the year ? For many autistic people, the lights and sounds can be extremely stressful. Having a sensory room or quiet space where autistic people can go to retreat to when feeling overstimulated can be particularly useful at Christmas.
This can be either in a dedicated room or in a particular corner of a room. When creating a sensory room, there is a few things to be mindful of such as:
Lighting is such a powerful thing and can change the way we feel. It can change the whole atmosphere in a room. For example, fluorescent overhead lights can make us feel uncomfortable. You can add a relaxing glow to your sensory space by dimming your lights and using bubble lamps, battery powered candles, jelly fish lamps, or lava lamps.
Music can also change the way we feel. Songs with a steady beat can be calming and effective in lowering anxiety for some people. Nature sounds, and sounds of rain, soft jazz, classical and easy listening music are calming as well.
This can involve an exercise ball, sitting in a rocking/swivel chair, or jumping on a mini trampoline. Crashing into a crash pad, jumping, climbing, crawling, pushing, pulling, lifting objects or any sort of weight-bearing activity can work great for those seeking movement.
PRESSURE & BEING TACTILE
An inexpensive option is to include as many pillows, blankets, bean bags and soft toys as possible. A play tent or even a blow up kiddie pool filled with blankets, lots of stuffed animals and sensory toys can work too. A weighted blanket can be useful for those seeking deep pressure.
Most times seeing what helps a child self-regulate is a matter of trial and error and trying out lots of options.