Safe Outdoor Spaces for Your Autistic Children
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Photo via Unsplash Enjoying your backyard can be challenging when it’s rich with clutter, safety hazards, or just a lawn full of weeds. Some of the same safety rules that make sense for inside your home apply outside, too, so be mindful of anything that may pose a problem. To get the most out of your outdoor space—and encourage your child with ASD to venture outside—try looking at your yard with fresh eyes. Test out these ideas from Adams Landscaping for upgrading the backyard and enhancing your home’s value at the same time. 3 Tips for Your Backyard Home Improvements It’s easy to let your mind run wild when it comes to creating a backyard oasis for the whole family. But keep these tips in mind while overhauling a bland backyard so you don’t make expensive (or unsafe) missteps.
1) Be aware of your home’s value. Improvements could mean a higher home appraisal value. To ensure you get your money’s worth if you ever sell your home, keep track of the changes by keeping receipts and snapping before/after photos.
2) Take caution with water features. Whether it’s a pool or a fun fountain for kids to frolic in, be aware of the dangers of water with children—especially children on the spectrum. Many children may be drawn to water without recognizing the hazards.
3) Avoid overwhelm (and a whole bunch of plastic). Bright colors and fun play equipment are great additions to your backyard space. But take care not to overwhelm the space or your family. Too much ‘stuff’ can be intimidating. Plus, plastic toys and features become hot to the touch during sunny days, creating a burn risk, notes KABC Television.
5 Top Backyard Projects for Autism-Safe Outdoor Spaces Now that you know what not to do, here are all the fun things you can do in your backyard to create a fun and engaging space for your child on the spectrum.
1) Secure the Perimeter & Entry Points If your backyard has an exit to the street, alley, or driveway, securing the perimeter and any gates is your first safety must-do. You can also install alarms, such as those intended for pool areas, so you’re alerted immediately if your child tries an unauthorized exit.
2) Add a Snacking-Friendly Garden If your child often explores with their mouths rather than their other senses, a snackable garden is an excellent addition to your backyard. Spending time gardening can be therapeutic for all ages and abilities, of course. But being able to pluck fruit and veggies straight from the garden is always delightful for children—and healthy, too.
3) Create a Sand Table for Sensory Fun Outdoor sand tables are a great way for children to enjoy tactile sensory play. Plus, when they’re done, you can hose down the play area (and the kids, too). Try sensory doughs outdoors for even more fun and simple cleanup.
4) Set Up a Safe and Shady Swing
Not all children on the autism spectrum enjoy swinging, but many do. In fact, sensory swings may even help some children self-regulate when they’re feeling overwhelmed, notes Friendship Circle. Whether you have a sizable tree in your yard or need to install a freestanding DIY frame, a swing might be the perfect addition.
5) Create a Relaxation Area Adding a deck or patio space to your backyard offers a place to set up tables and chairs or play areas for kids. Plus, a new patio ranks highly for buyer appeal—and patios also have high resale value. But even if you’re not an expert in pouring concrete, you can create a stone patio with little effort—and no general contractor.
There are no guarantees when it comes to convincing your little one to head outside for some fun in the sun. But by ensuring a safe and stimulating space for the whole family, you can rest a little easier and enjoy the outdoors more. As a bonus, the effort may pay off if you ever sell your home, too.