One’s own space at home

Recommendation 54
Create spaces and other facilities which enable children to retreat

Chapter (theme)
Architectural spaces (time-out spaces)

Because of
nearly all autism and ego-characteristics

In order to
temporarily reduce sensory and social stimuli in order to prevent or recover from overcharging.

In describing ‘time-out spaces’, various places were sketched out where people on the spectrum can retreat. There we referred to the authors of the core literature who mention their own variation of an ideal withdrawal space.

As mentioned in the theme of this recommendation the need for one’s own space can be tied to virtually any autistic limitation or idiosyncrasy. If one is alone there are no social or communicative weaknesses. If the space is sealed, then sound, light, smell and other sensations won’t penetrate and one is safeguarded from sensory overload. And when small enough the same is true for proprioceptive and vestibular difficulties. If sufficiently small and simple the withdrawal space won’t tax one’s shifting or central coherence abilities, and so on.
(The snoozling room is the only exception to this general rule.)

Imagine a continuum ranging from a place in the home, experienced by the child as more or less its own to the complete isolation of a hiding place. We then can distinguish in increasing measure of seclusion:

  • a ‘lee place’ allowing limited family participation
  • zones in the home, ranging from a dividing line on the floor or some other semi-secluded space within common rooms, to broader areas in the home such as attics, basements or a floor (see the theme zoning)
  • ones own room (see recommendation 31)
  • a hiding place, for instance a tent or a spacious enough closet (possibly outside).

Depending on the specific needs of the autistic family member one can decide to use one, several or all of these possibilities.


It may be useful to point out that this continuum concerns the degree of seclusion and stimuli avoidance. That’s why the snoozeling, or multi-sensory room is not included here.
Such tents are for sale for instance on this website.
In The Netherlands an artist has designed a so called ‘roming chair‘ (zwerfstoel), a large enough box for in a garden for instance.