Color application for the very color-sensitive at home

Color application for the very color-sensitive at home

Recommendation 117
Establish a very balanced color scheme with minimal contrasts and without vivid and glaring colors

Chapter (theme)
Interior design (color)

Because of
strong sensory hypersensitivity (for color), Central coherence and Cognitive shifting

In order to
avoid sensory overload, stress and confusion.

In the theme ‘color’ the rule of thumb is mentioned that hypersensitivity to colors generally increases along with the seriousness of the autism. This recommendation is aimed children and young people at the ‘serious’ end of the spectrum who live at home and who require more far-reaching measures.
Less far-reaching measures are proposed in recommendation 116. They are: application of soft, muted colors and/or pastels and to avoid vividly glaring colors. Colors at the ‘cool’ end of the color-spectrum are advisable that is to say green, blue and white, while red and yellow, at the ‘warm’ end are discouraged. We hasten to add these measures merely address the most common color sensibilities and also that it’s essential to establish to what extent the individual has those. If not, the measures should be adjusted accordingly, for instance by applying red and/or yellow and brightly too as the case may be.

For the very color-sensitive we mainly propose the same measures as for the moderately color-sensitive family-members, but more strongly. In the most common cases this means application of even softer, more muted and more matted colors, along with a stronger reduction of contrasts. The can be achieved by strongly limiting the number of colors, preferably to white, soft blue and soft green or to two (and in extreme cases just one) of these colors. Door- and window frames should have the same color as the doors and the walls. The color of furniture and other inventory should only marginally differ in color from the surrounding and floor colors.
The recommendation made elsewhere to keep cupboards closed and to avoid clutter, also works to keep objects of possibly disturbing colors out of sight.

Towards the end of the theme ‘color’ the remark is made that some cognitive problems such as inflexibility and fragmented perception are exacerbated in surroundings with adjacent changing colors. An added advantage of the simplification of the color image is that such problems are lessened as well.

As the color image in and around the home becomes starker and more uniform, the question becomes more urgent to what extent these further-reaching measures are tolerable to the other family members. If they’re not, a compromise has to be struck between what is bearable for the individual on the spectrum and what to the others. Little can be said about such a compromise in general, since they involve different degrees of willingness and creativity.
It is, however, possible to lessen the sensory overload of the person in question through individual solutions, such as wearing colored glasses (which lay outside the reach of this website; information about such devices is easy to find).
Another possibility to lessen the contradiction between the needs of the person on the spectrum and his home-mates, is to implement part of the measures exclusively in his or her private room. This way for instance a desired strong color-experience can happen outside the field of vision of the others. Conversely home-mates may indulge somewhat in their own color-preferences if the person in question can and is willing to take temporary refuge in his or her own space.