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Acoustic treatment for homes with children suffering from Autism (ASD)

Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Autism in short is a complex, lifelong developmental disability that typically appears during early childhood and can impact a person's social skills, communication, relationships, and self-regulation.

Going by the name it is clear that there are a number of ways that autism manifests itself in children with some being oversensitive (hyper sensitive) and others being under sensitive (hypo sensitive) to various sensory stimuli around including sound.

From the work we have done with special needs schools it is clear that there is an important role that acoustic treatment plays in helping children who are over sensitive to sound. While acoustic treatment may not stop the sounds entering or leaving a room the absorption of sound that is resonant in spaces can go some way in making children feel safer and improve their overall wellbeing.

In the home your autistic child may for example avoid going to the kitchen or entering the hallway  simply because of the excessive stimulation they get from these rooms, which are generally very bright and reverberant. Modern interior decor with laminated flooring, bare walls and minimalistic furnishings can further exacerbate the situation for anyone who is hyper sensitive to sound. Creating an environment that is both uncomfortable and unpleasant.

There are simple solutions which could include using noise cancelling ear phones, ear plugs or ear defenders to block out excessive noise. However, anyone who has used these knows how cumbersome it is to have to wear this as you go about your day, and that’s for adults leave alone children. Furthermore these solutions aren’t necessarily socially friendly with the user being cut off from those around them reducing their social interaction and thereby creating even more issues.

A more practical solution is to acoustically treat spaces that are regularly used to reduce the resonance and reflection of sound waves, creating spaces that feel quieter and cosy. Where cost is an issue treating a room which can be used as a calming space can help deal with the constant auditory over stimulation around the house.

Acoustic treatment may take many forms including using simple soft furnishing, carpets, rugs and curtains however these can only go so far  in improving the acoustics of a room. In most acoustically bright rooms the biggest culprit is the ceiling, with high ceilings multiplying the issue several fold.

The use of purpose design acoustic materials such our Melaflex acoustic panels which are easily mounted onto ceilings and walls will significantly improve the absorption of reflected sound waves creating spaces in any room making the spaces much more pleasant for anyone with hyper sensitivity to sound.

Melaflex foam lends itself well to indoor use for a number of reasons namely;

  • It is extremely light and can be added retrospectively using non destructive methods to any surface including listed buildings.
  • Mounting of melaflex panels is easily accomplished with impalers or spray adhesive. This DIY acoustic solution drastically reduces the cost of acquiring and benefiting from acoustic treatment in your home.
  • Melaflex foam is supplied in brilliant white or light grey meaning the panels will blend perfectly with most interior walls or ceilings diligently carrying out their work of improving the acoustics in the room they are installed in without interfering with the interior decor or aesthetics or your rooms.
  • Unlike fibreglass panels, melaflex panels can be shaped into any 3 D shape, with profiles being cut to match existing features or to introduce interesting aesthetics to the room they are installed in.
  • Melaflex foam is fibre free and doesn’t need any special precautions whilst handling it. Unlike fibreglass it doesn’t release fibres in the air which are known to cause irritations.
  • Finally melaflex foam is a Class ‘0’  fire rated meeting the most stringent fire ratings out there lending themselves well to use in rooms like kitchens.

 

I hope this article gives you some practical guidance on how you can make your home a better living space for your loved ones. If you would like any help with any of our acoustic solutions please give us a call on 01442 899 294 and we will be only too happy to help.

Acoustic treatment FAQs

How much acoustic treatment will I need?

This depends on the size of the bare surfaces you have in your living space. Typically absorption of 30% will make a marked improvement in the acoustics of your living space with every additional bit of treatment improving further the acoustics.

Where should I place the acoustic treatment?

Because of the unique properties of melamine foam it can be punctured by curious hands we recommend installing the panels on the ceiling and above door height this will ensure the panels are out of reach of anyone curious enough to try and investigate the panels which could damage the panels.

Does the white foam get discoloured?

No Melamine foam will retain its bright white colour for years unlike polyurethane foam which starts to brown in days as it starts to oxidise when exposed to sunlight resulting in unsightly looking yellowish foam.

How should I clean the panels once installed

Melamine foam panels are simple to clean with a duster or lightly vacuumed over. Care should be taken not to brush hard against the panels as this can result in the structure getting damaged.