Moving and House Hunting – three considerations for Parents of Children With Autism
An article by Linda Robinson
Moving with children is rarely easy, but when one of your little ones has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), moving can be even more of a challenge. However, communication is key — and it’s important to remain upfront with your child and share as much information with him or her as possible.
You’ll also need to consider things like sound, lighting, and smells when searching for new homes for your family, as these can be upsetting to children with sensory issues.
Below, the team at Anna Kennedy Online presents three considerations that all parents of children with autism should keep in mind when searching for suitable properties and planning a move into their new home.
Autism-Friendly Home Features
Before searching for a new home for your family, it’s important to consider your child’s specific needs — especially if he or she is hyper- or- hypo-sensitive to sounds, smells, touch, and tastes. For families of children with autism, a few things to look out for include:
Autism-friendly bedrooms. Certain modifications can be made to your child’s bedroom after you move into your new home, but it’s best to steer clear of rooms with fluorescent lighting — as many children with ASD are sensitive to the flickering in fluorescent light bulbs. And as a result, children may experience anxiety, headaches, and eye strain.
To accommodate your child’s sensory issues, use desk or floor lamps with full-spectrum or LED bulbs in lieu of fluorescent lighting — and opt for carpet instead of hardwood floors.
Safe outdoor spaces. Time in nature is critical for children with ASD, but outdoor spaces should be fenced in and soundproofed to keep your child safe and comfortable during playtime. If you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, you may soundproof your garden after moving into your new home.
Open floor plans. For children with sensory issues, closed-concept floor plans should be avoided — especially those that block the line of sight. Instead, look for open concept floor plans and avoid homes with too many physical barriers.
As a parent to a child with autism, there are several advantages to buying a home during the pandemic. Since much of your home-hunting experience will take place online amidst COVID-19, this is a great opportunity to involve your child in every virtual showing, video chat tour, or 3D home walkthrough — and help your child to understand the house hunting and moving process.
In-person showings and open houses are restricted in many parts of the world, but virtual showings are a safe and effective alternative for you and your little ones.
Expert Real Estate Advice
Once you’re familiar with the different things your child will need in order to thrive in his new home, you’ll need to hire an experienced real estate agent to assist you in your housing search. You’ll also need to hire a mortgage lender if you’ll be applying for home financing.
When hiring a real estate agent, be sure to inquire about the following:
- The agent’s experience with accessible home design
- The number of real estate transactions he’s handled in your target area
- Whether he has any client complaints filed against him
- His real estate fees
- Any other members of the team who will be assisting you in your housing search
You’ll also want to talk to your agent about buying a home during the pandemic. We’ll talk more about this in the next section.
As a parent to a child with autism, there are several advantages to buying a home during the pandemic. Since much of your home-hunting experience will take place online amidst COVID-19, this is a great opportunity to involve your child in every virtual showing, video chat tour, or 3D home walkthrough — and help your child to understand the house hunting and moving process. In-person showings and open houses are restricted in many parts of the world, but virtual showings are a safe and effective alternative for you and your little ones.
Moving with a child who has autism can certainly be challenging, but you’ll alleviate some stress and anxiety if you talk to your little one about the house-hunting process — and involve him or her as best as possible. Give your child plenty of time to come to terms with the move, and explain the move in a way that your child will understand.
It’ll take some time for your child to adjust to the idea of living somewhere new, but by keeping him in the loop, the transition will be a whole lot easier on you and your little one.