Four Ways to Make Your Backyard Safe for Autistic Children This Summer

Blog Post 060518

Danny Knight from has written this article after helping out his close friend, whose son has been recently been diagnosed with being on the autism spectrum. Danny, along with the help of his husband, ensured that  their friends' yard was transformed into a safe and fun place to be. What great friends to have !


A home’s backyard is normally the place to go for family summer fun. Cookouts are generally cheaper than eating out; you don’t have to drive and use gas to get to a park if you have games you can play in the yard; sweltering hot afternoons can be spent in the pool (if your yard has one); and there’s always the magical summer tradition of capturing fireflies at night. Yet parents with a child on the autism spectrum should not always assume their backyard is completely ready for summer fun, and must consider safety as well. Here are four ways parents can make their backyard safe and accessible for their autistic children.


  1. Get a Fence


Autistic children love to play outside, according to the Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation, so a fenced-in backyard with a securable gate is a necessity, especially one with a locked gate to prevent wandering. The higher the fence, the better, since it will discourage any attempts to escape. Also consider adding a gate alarm or sensor that will activate if the gate is accidentally left unlocked and the child manages to get it open.


  1. Take Care of Your Lawn


Many autistic children love to run in open spaces. According to the Raising Children Network in Australia, running allows the child to develop gross motor skills, which involve the large muscles of the body. So it’s important that the backyard lawn is cut regularly and any small holes filled so that the child doesn’t trip over a thick clump of grass or get a foot caught. In addition, keep all yard furniture in one place and out of the way of your little dynamo.


  1. Secure the Pool


Since autistic children are naturally drawn to the sensory experience of water, if you have a backyard pool (in-ground or above-ground), be sure it is fenced off and has a securable gate. You should consider installing two types of alarms: one for the gate and another for the pool. A pool alarm can be either a surface wave sensor (such as buoy alarm) or a subsurface disturbance detector. That way if your child gets an urge to wander out of the house and near the pool, you’ll be notified if she goes through the gate or actually enters the water.


  1. Don’t Bug Me


There are many stories about how some children on the autistic spectrum are afraid of bugs. For those children, even the short, sharp buzzing of a housefly zipping too close to their ears could send them into a panic. You also don’t want the child to wander off into a corner of the backyard and get too curious about a large nest of wasps. Treat your yard regularly, and if possible, use organic pesticides like citronella, neem oil, or even chili pepper and garlic oils. Also pay close attention to areas where wasps or hornets might build their nests. Hire an exterminator if nests are too big for you to remove safely.


Think Ahead for Summer Backyard Fun


We often spend lots of time planning and maintaining our yards for the summer, and some of that thought should also be directed toward keeping a backyard safe for an autistic child. If you keep your yard fenced in, the lawn cut and level, the pool (if you have one) secured, and pests away, everybody in the family can enjoy the long days of summer outdoors.


Photo Credit: Pixabay

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2 thoughts on “Four Ways to Make Your Backyard Safe for Autistic Children This Summer”

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