Creating a Safe Environment for Your Autistic Teen

Creating a Safe Environment for Your Autistic Teen - Viewpoint Center

Creating a Safe Environment for Your Autistic Teen

As the parent or caregiver of an autistic teen, creating a safe and welcoming environment for them is often a main focus. Tailoring your home to suit your teen’s unique needs can make a huge difference in development, quality of life,  and overall happiness. This space should be safe, nurturing, and specific to them. The world can be overwhelming, and knowing they have a consistent, reliable space to return to can ease the stress of the day. When making this space, here are some things to keep in mind:

Establish clear rules and boundaries

Structure and accountability are essential for a teen with autism. Making sure expectations are understood can assist in building this. Ensure your teen knows what is expected of them, how the rules affect the people around them, and the consequences of not following them. This clarity can be incredibly helpful when forming predictability and understanding of day-to-day life. 

Create calmness

Minimizing bright lights, noise, and clutter can prevent common overstimulation with your autistic teen. Sensory overload from particular external stimuli can be potentially prevented with soft lighting, calming colors, and comfortable furniture. Customize this space to be unique to your teen. Take into consideration their likes, dislikes, and triggers to build an oasis to retreat to in times of stress. 

Provide sensory input and output

Individuals with autism often seek out sensory input to calm their nervous system. Provide this by offering weighted blankets, tactile activities, or other sensory tools. This can help your teen feel more grounded and comfortable. 

Use visual aids

Schedules, charts, and pictures in this environment can be incredibly helpful for individuals with autism. Use these aids to help your teen understand routines, tasks, and expectations. This can help provide a sense of predictability and structure, thus, creating a sense of ease in daily life. 

Foster independence 

Encourage your teen to develop independence by offering responsibilities and decision-making opportunities. This independence can help to boost self-esteem and confidence, both of which are essential for overall well-being. 

Encourage Exploration

A welcoming and safe environment can encourage an autistic teen to explore and try new things. When an area is comfortable and catered to their needs, confidence can be boosted, potentially helping them to be more open to trying new things. This may include new hobbies, conversations, or tasks. Try facilitating new experiences in this comfortable environment. For example, host a small group gathering or a quiet place to speak one-on-one to encourage more confident social interaction. 

By understanding your child’s unique needs, providing structure and support, and building a sense of predictability, you can create an environment suited to their comfort. Implementing these tips can help your teen thrive and reach their full potential. 

Learn From Professionals

If you are still struggling to create a safe place for your autistic teen, consider contacting professionals with experience. ViewPoint Center is committed to creating a safe, welcoming, and inclusive environment for all clients. Reach out if your family needs help finding a sense of safety and ease in your everyday life.