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Creating a Sensory-Friendly World with Light for Autism

Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD, is a complicated brain and development disorder that changes how a person handles sense information. This can make it hard to communicate, connect with others, and stop doing the same things over and over. People with autism often experience sensory overload, which is when too many stimuli make the surroundings too much to handle. In this case, sensory lights can be very helpful because they create a stimulating and relaxing space that can help with focus, mood, and general health.

How Sensory Processing Works in Autism

To make sense of the world, our brains use information from our senses, like sound, sight, touch, taste, and smell. This pathway for understanding sensory information can be different in people with autism. Some people may be overly sensitive to certain things and find them upsetting and overwhelming. For example, fluorescent lights can be seen as harsh and flashing, which can be uncomfortable. On the other hand, some people may be hyposensitive and need stronger stimulation to pick up on sensory information.

The Power of Light: How It Can Calm and Stimulate

Fibre optic lamps, bubble tubes, projectors, and light screens are some of the different types of sensory lights. They give off a controlled and predictable light because the colours, brightness, and designs can often be changed. This makes it possible for people with autism to change the visual world to meet their needs.

Calming Effects: Blue and green lights that are soft and spread out can make a space feel calm. This can be especially helpful for dealing with worry and getting a better night’s sleep. Studies show that blue light in the evening can stop the production of melatonin, a hormone that controls when you sleep and wake up [1]. People with autism who have trouble controlling their sleep may find this helpful.

Effects That Stimulate: Fibre optic lamps with moving lights or color-changing projectors can be very interesting and appealing for people who want to be visually stimulated. These lights can help you focus and keep your eyes on the task at hand, which is good for learning and growing.

Sensory lights for autism.

Using visual lights with people who have autism could have a number of benefits, including:

Better Focus and Attention: Sensory lights can help you focus and pay attention by making the surroundings visually soothing. This can be especially helpful in places where learning is going on and staying focused can be hard.

Less anxiety and self-stimulatory behaviours: Too many sensory inputs can make people anxious, which can make them do repeated behaviours as a way to deal with their feelings. Sensory lights can help people deal with nervousness and may even make them less likely to do self-stimulatory behaviours.

Much better control of your mood: Colour has a big effect on your mood. Studies have shown that seeing certain colours can make people feel certain emotions [2]. Sensory lights in soothing colours like blue and green can help you feel calm and at ease, while lights in brighter, more lively colours can wake you up and make you feel more energised.

Better sleep: As we already said, some light colours can help you sleep better because they are calming. This is important because many people with autism have trouble sleeping.

Sensory Exploration and Development: Sensory lights can give some people with autism a safe, controlled way to explore visual input. This exploration can help you get better at understanding what you see.

Making a Light-Friendly Space for All the Senses

Even though sensory lights can be helpful, it’s important to keep in mind that everyone with autism processes sensory information in their own unique way. Here are some light-based tips for making a space that is good for all of your senses:

Offer Options: Give a range of sensory lights with various colours, levels of brightness, and designs so that everyone can find one they like.

Beginning slowly: Slowly turn on the sense lights and watch how the person reacts. Be aware that flickering lights or rapid changes in colour could make people feel uncomfortable.

Add Other Sensory Tools: Noise-canceling headphones, fidget toys, and weighted blankets are just a few of the other sensory tools that can be used with sensory lights to make them work even better.

Get Professional Help: An occupational therapist can give you specific advice on how to use sensory lights and make your space more sensory-friendly.

In conclusion

Sensory lights look like a potential and non-intrusive way to help people with autism. By making the visual experience relaxing or exciting, they can help people concentrate better, feel less anxious, and be healthier overall. But it’s important to keep in mind that everyone has different sensory needs. To make the best sensory setting with light for people on the autism spectrum, you need to try things out, watch others, and get professional help.

Extra Things to Think About

Research is Still Going On: There is more and more positive anecdotal evidence and experiences with sensory lights, but more in-depth research is needed to fully understand the long-term effects and success of this intervention. In the future, researchers might look into the exact ways that light affects the brains of autistic people to either calm or stimulate them. More study could be done to find the best way to design and use sensory lights for people of all ages and with a wide range of needs.

Individualised Method: Everybody will need a different kind, colour, and level of brightness of light to work best for them. It is important to include the person with autism in the decision-making process by giving them a chance to look at different choices and say what they want. Seeing how they react and how they move can tell you a lot about what makes them feel calm or excited.

Warnings about safety: Some sensory lights, especially those with fibre optic strands, could be dangerous for little kids to choke on. These lights should only be used with adult supervision, and the choices should be acceptable for the child’s age. Also, keep in mind that some lighting goods, especially those made to be used for a long time, can produce heat.

Occupational Therapy for Sensory Integration: Sensory lights can be a useful tool in occupational therapy for sensory integration, which aims to help people better understand sensory information. A trained worker can make a custom programme with sensory lights and other techniques to help people who have certain sensory issues.

Sensory Lights: A Wide Range of Options

In conclusion, sensory lights look like a hopeful and non-intrusive way to help people with autism. By making the visual experience relaxing or exciting, they can help people concentrate better, feel less anxious, and be healthier overall. But it’s important to keep in mind that everyone has different sensory needs. You can get the most out of sensory lights to make the world a better place for people with autism by trying them out, watching them work, getting professional help, and tailoring your approach to their needs.