I found your blog last week and I totally love it. I've already done a couple simple adjustments that have actually made a great impact on the space. Like moving my couch into a commanding position and clearing my entry way. I also noticed that my son, who is severely autistic, has been affected as well. Our living room seems to now be his perfect place to sit and do a quiet, focused activity- usually reading a picture book. How do you think Feng Shui applies to those with sensory issues, like autism and Asperger's syndrome? Do you have any recommendations on applying Feng Shui to an Autistic Child's bedroom?
Danielle P., Columbia, MO
Aww thanks so much for your kind words. I’m so happy that the feng shui adjustments have impacted your son in such a positive way! I think this is a really important subject, so I also consulted with two other experts. My sister, Stephanie Cho, is a psychiatrist at George Washington University, and my friend Nancy Guberti, practices functional medicine and has worked with dozens of autistic children.
We all (Stephanie, Nancy and myself) agree that placing autistic children in the commanding position creates a safe and soothing environment. From the feng shui perspective, the commanding position set you up so that there are fewer surprises; you can literally see what or who is coming into your space. For an autistic child, this helps to prevent opportunities for disturbances and creates a calming space.
Stephanie advised that for aspects of the environment that are sensory oriented, such as colors or smells, the feng shui guidelines are not as applicable, as this depends on each autistic child. Their associations with their senses are highly individual. Therefore it's best to notice and be aware of what colors, scents, or objects have positive associations with each child. Then it can be helpful to place that in their bedrooms. But by far, the commanding position is the way to go with the bed and, if possible desk or sitting areas.
The commanding position would place the bed (or other major furniture) such that when one is lying in the bed, that they can see the door while not in line with this door.
Nancy also suggested clutter-free environments for autistic children's bedrooms. The less busyness, the better. Less sensory input and "noise." I would recommend using storage with doors or bins. This is a great way to cut down the clutter and reduce the amount of noise in a space. :)
I'm thrilled to hear that the small changes you made as a result of our blog have made such an impact in such an important area of life. You and your son are proof that feng shui really does work! Please let me know if you make any of the adjustments Stephanie, Nancy and I have suggested and how they work out!