One of the most important things about providing support to someone with autism is allowing them increased control of their lives. Supported living in High Wycombe allows a greater degree of autonomy than a residential care home whilst still ensuring an individual has access to the necessary services. This means that homes used in supportive living must be designed with autistic people in mind.
What is supported living?
Supported living is a form of accommodation where the person has their own home, either by themselves or shared with one or two people with support workers available to assist with everything – from helping to do laundry to filling in forms, depending on individual needs. This means that service users have a high degree of control over their own lives but can still ask for help whenever they need it. The degree of support is flexible and can be tailored to specific requirements. It is an excellent way to offer a more personalised service that recognises individuality amongst autistic people.
Designing an autistic-friendly home
The first thing to remember when designing anything that is autism-friendly is that no two autistic people are exactly alike. There are steps you can take that will probably help a lot of people with autism, but you still need to consult with individual service users over their specific needs and personal preferences with regard to colours, sounds, scents and textures, for example.
Many autistic people are prone to sensory overload when encountering loud noises, bright lights and similar disturbances. That means that a home for someone with autism should be designed to minimise overstimulation. Avoid fluorescent lights and make sure electric lighting can be dimmed as required, whilst opaque blinds or curtains can be used to create darkness. Noise-dampening methods, such as extra insulation, can be useful. Even the quiet buzz of appliances can be aggravating to some autistic people, so try to minimise these sorts of sounds, perhaps by placing the washing machine or fridge inside a cupboard.
Colour is obviously a matter of personal taste, but try to avoid particularly garish tones or patterns. Red is generally considered stimulating, green is usually soothing. It can also be helpful to avoid clutter in terms of ornaments and unnecessary decoration, which can be distressing and contribute to executive dysfunction. Temperatures should be adjustable and ensure there are options in terms of the number and thickness of cushions, pillows and duvets. Sometimes weighted blankets can help with sleeping. The house should have enough space to move freely (especially for those who like to rock, flap and stim) without being so empty that it is disorientating.
By considering the needs of autistic people when designing a house or flat, you can be assured that supported living in High Wycombe can meet the needs of the largest range of service users. Individualised support can ensure autistic people have safe, comfortable homes where they can maintain their independence whilst still having their complex needs met.