Lauren S. Henry is a Sensory Designer and Colour Consultant from Los Angeles, California. Lauren was a teacher when she decided to venture out and find a way to combine her passions for art, kids, psychology and writing, as well as her desire to make a difference in the world. She founded an innovative new business, ‘With a Brush of Love.’ Here, Lauren utilizes a wide variety of techniques to transform the lives of children diagnosed with autism and other special needs through their surroundings.
Lauren is also the author of, ‘Unique Kids. Unique Surroundings,’ and has been a Guest Designer on both Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, and HGTV’s Kidspace.
We are all impacted by the colours that surround us. For children, the effects are more palpable. Children, in general, are more sensitive, and more responsive to sensory information. With special needs and children on the spectrum, the effects can be magnified to the extreme. Children need to be in a surrounding that speaks to their individual needs. Parents and teachers often assume that colourful, playful décor is appropriate for all children. Unfortunately, this is very often not the case. The goal of sensory designing maybe to pacify those who are overly agitated or aggressive, stimulate the withdrawn, or improve focus and concentration. Ultimately, it’s possible to dramatically increase one’s ability to succeed in all areas, scholastically, socially, and most importantly, within the home.
It is up to you as a parent to decide what the emphasis of the room should be. You may have separate bedrooms and playrooms for your child. You may have an office that doubles as a playroom, or as the room in which your child is expected to study, do homework or have in-home therapies. In order for therapists to be most effective, they need to work in an environment free of distractions. That’s no easy task when using a room for multiple purposes.
Remember that gender is generally not one of the more important considerations when selecting colours. Understand your child’s individual needs and select colours accordingly. For instance, an “upbeat” bright pink may seem like the perfect choice for your sweet five-year-old little girl. She may like the colour, but she doesn’t understand; and you the parent, don’t realize, that it can be the cause of agitation, and an inability to relax or focus; or bring on a feeling of over-stimulation that your little one can’t convey. This unexpected result/reaction could manifest in the form of prolonged negative behavior. She may be upset or frustrated, consistently unable to sleep through the night, or even sleep in her room, she might even act out physically. The neuro-typical child might have a slightly similar reaction, though it’s rare that the response would be as extreme. Just because your child loves a particular colour or it is a gender-specific colour doesn’t mean it’s the most advantageous on a large scale in their space.
‘With a Brush of Love,’ provides a wide range of consultation and design options to suit everyone’s budget. From telephone, Skype, or email consultations to complete room or whole-home design services, we offer something for everyone. Small changes can make a significant impact on your child’s experience as well as your entire family. These changes can completely transform a child’s emotional well-being, behavior, and ability to connect and relate to those around them.
We want to meet you! Email photos to us. Introduce us to your child through your webcam. Talk to us. Let’s see how we can help. We travel the world, whether on a plane or through the web to work with YOU.
For more information, contact Lauren via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.