Can anybody help me? - autism/aspergers friendly care home

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Peanut1981
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01 Nov 2011, 5:17 am

Hi,

I was wondering if the members on this forum could help me?

Me and friends are looking for ideas and suggestions from people with autistic spectrum disorders with regards to how they would want a care home environment to feel and look.

Who better to ask than those people who live and receive support in such places? So, here goes...

Things I would need feedback for are...

Acoustics: A person with autism may be far more sensitive to resonating sounds that typical people don't notice.

Visual character: Visually confusing architecture design can be very distracting, as people on the spectrum tend to be visually-orientated.

Spatial quality: A tight space can feel suffocating, while a space that is too open can bring on a free-falling feeling.

Texture: Sensory sensitivities to texture are common in autistic disorders.

Colour: Colours can have an effect on anyone, but people on the spectrum may be far more sensitive to the psychological and physical effects of color.


Why do I want your feedback/ The reason I would like feedback from yourselves is quite simple, me and a few others are in the care and support field and are looking to build an ASD specific environment for those people who require support from professionals. I am a CQC registered manager with experience supporting individuals with ASD.

We could look for information online or in books but I believe the best information comes from the target audience.

I look forward to your replies,

Carl :)



Last edited by Peanut1981 on 01 Nov 2011, 5:39 am, edited 2 times in total.

HondaZx2
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01 Nov 2011, 5:34 am

how very astute of you.

also consider the following:
fabric textures and materials
food types and its textures, also its smells
smells of the facility
also, obviously being able to set up special needs like some sort of noise making (radio or fan noise?) to help assist insomnia
heavy blankets or pillows, physical pressure can help alievate anxiety

for higher functioning, probably video games or other types of mentally rewarding activitys

and one very big thing that i can think of now... easy set up and maintained routines.



Peanut1981
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01 Nov 2011, 5:36 am

Thank you for your reply, all help is appreciated.



Jellybean
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01 Nov 2011, 4:05 pm

I actually have lived in a few care homes, two of which were apparently designed for people with ASD. The first one wasn't so bad, but this new one I live in now, they have made it very poorly. It was a bungalow conversion so the bedrooms are small. For a person with an ASD, space is everything because we often have large collections of things. En-suite bathrooms are a MUST as sharing can be traumatic for some people. The reason I don't like the place I live in are:

-It is over decorated. There are strange wall decorations which are too bright, too shiny and too over stimulating
-The sofas are made of leather. While this might make cleaning easier, it is uncomfortable
- The curtains have strong colours and patterns which cause visual overload
- The walls are not sound-proofed. I can hear everything that happens in my neighbour's bedroom and the kitchen. If staff are in the staff room which is not attached I can still hear what they are saying. A lot of people with ASD have audio sensitivity so this is important
- The back curtains are for decorative purposes only. They do not close
- The clock is an 'artistic' one without numbers. It is difficult to read
- The lights are fluorescent. This should not be in care homes as it disturbs a lot of people
- A drain was not correctly filled when the house was built. As a result we get a sewage smell which comes into the kitchen on a regular basis
- The mirror in the bathroom which is plastic warped after only a week and it looks like one of those crazy house mirrors. I had to coat it in paper as I was getting distressed by it
- There is too much shared space and not enough personal space. It can feel quite stressful at times
- The kitchen is too small and does not have space for a bin

The things I like about my house are:

-My bedroom wall is green. I find magnolia uncomfortable. The green is only gentle so not too distressing


Y'know that's all I like about my house :S Not good really. I am trying to be moved to be honest.

Things that should be in a house (but aren't in mine):

- sensory 'toys' like bubble tubes and things with nice textures. Even higher functioning individuals like these. They shouldn't be in the main living space though as others might find them uncomfortable
- A clock you can actually read!
- Non-fluorescent lights. Although fluorescent are better financially they can cause headaches, nausea, sensory overload and behavioural problems in some autistic people
- Sound proofing!
- private, self contained facilities within a home (for more able residents) such as a lounge, kitchen and en-suite


Things that are not a good idea (in communal areas)

-Television. If this is to be included it must only be brought out for specific film/television times as fights used to break out in my old home
- Radio/CD player. Some might want it loud, others might find this distressing. As with television it can cause fights
- Pot-puri (smelly stuff in a bowl... can't spell it!). For some reason this is often popular...
- Anything breakable, smashable etc.
- Expensive furniture (in case it gets broken)

If I think of anything else, I will come back on this thread :) Hope it helps.


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Jellybean
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01 Nov 2011, 4:14 pm

Sorry I am being a thread hog! But I have thought it might be worth mentioning kitchen specific issues because kitchens are quite overwhelming.

-try and avoid textured or patterned floors (it can be painful)
-For the counter tops, the plainer the better!
- Be aware of bright shining surfaces when light is on. This can distract a person with ASD who is trying to cook
- Assign a cupboard to each resident and supply a lock and key for that cupboard. Although this sounds a bit institutionalised, it is the best way to avoid food being stolen
- Fridge/freezers are loud. Try not to position it on a joining wall with a bedroom (guess who's room the fridge backs on to here...)

Image

This kitchen is quite similar to ours.


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I have HFA, ADHD, OCD & Tourette syndrome. I love animals, especially my bunnies and hamster. I skate in a roller derby team (but I'll try not to bite ;) )


Peanut1981
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02 Nov 2011, 7:11 am

Thanks for the advice/suggestions and help... please keep the information coming.