Play Rooms for Autistic Children

play rooms for autistic children

We interviewed, We Sell Mats customer, Kat Mournighan about her mats purchase for a playroom for her 9-year-old autistic son, Sean. The following is a transcript of our conversation with Kat.

WSM: What is unique about a playroom design for an autistic child?

KM: “Many kids with autism have sensory processing issues, which means they love to crash into objects, including the floor. Jumping is also a favorite, either on the floor or on a mini trampoline. But playrooms for autistic children like my son, Sean, need to be plain and non-distracting as possible. So, while we have a mini trampoline, bouncy balls, puppets and art supplies in the room, the most important tool in the room with him is his parent or volunteer.

We create a safe, non-distracting space so that he can develop socially through interactive play with the adult. We’ve been using this approach for the last three years since learning about it through the Son-Rise program.”

WSM: Why did you choose to buy mats for the playroom floor?

KM: “I spend a lot of time on the floor with my son, as does his trained caregiver. This interactive play is what helps him develop eye contact, communication, interactive attention span and flexibility. We created a map of our town on the mats, but we also act like polar bears in the Arctic, running around on our knees, or wrap Sean in a parachute and pull him around on the floor. The mats provide a seamless journey.

I considered linoleum, but since I am in a rental house, I had to decide how much of my own money to spend. Linoleum would have required padding and installation charges. But the mats required no professional installation, and if I move, I can just take them up and reinstall them wherever I go.”

WSM: Which color and thickness did you choose for the playroom?

KM: “Like I said, I wanted a non-distracting floor, so I chose a neutral color. This way I don’t have to paint the walls to match, either. Sean has rattled many objects off a shelf by simply jumping up and down, so I naturally chose the thickest option!”

WSM: How has your son reacted to the new mats?

KM: “Frankly, he hasn’t reacted, and I’m happy! He has accepted the mats as his new floor and we’ve even made a reserve pile of mats for him to build with or create an extra-padded corner.”

WSM: How was your experience ordering from We Sell Mats?

KM: “I was going to place the order online, but I had some questions, so I called and talked to Missy (owner of WSM). She was super helpful! She even took time to get to know a little about my family and how I planned to use the mats. She also took the extra time to make sure my shipment left the warehouse on the day I ordered it since I had moved into a new house but had to leave Sean and his caregiver in another location until the playroom was ready. I love knowing that I am more than just a customer to We Sell Mats and Missy.

Check out our tips on designing your very own sensory room.