How to autism-proof your home: reinforced drywallApr 26, 2023
Special needs parents, particularly those with children on the severe end of the autism spectrum, often have expenses other families don't. There are the daily rejected meals, pull-ups into the teen years and beyond, and cracked iPad screens that need to be replaced several times a year. Not to mention we go through TVs faster than YouTube prank video stars.
Since last summer, nearly every room in my home has sustained drywall damage during meltdowns. While I can appreciate a perfectly executed kick that produces a satisfying crunch of broken drywall, living in perpetual war zone aesthetic is incredibly depressing.
I've accepted that we can't have a lot of nice things, but I need to set a boundary somewhere and solid walls seem reasonable. Like, literally.
I'd been pricing wainscoting and high impact gypsum drywall, but both were beyond my budget. Then my handyman suggested reinforcing the inside of my walls with cheap plywood.
So, one wall at a time, we're fixing the casualties of autism seasoned with puberty spice. Here's what it looks like on the inside:
First, my handyman attached lumber rails to the studs for support. Then, he attached plywood to the rails. Next, he covered it with drywall. Materials for each wall runs around $50, which makes this a pretty reasonable fix for parents experienced in home improvement.
Once the walls are all reinforced, I'll plan my next big project: remodeling my son's bathroom so it's a "wet" room, with tile walls and a floor drain. I'll also add the deepest bathtub I can find.
If anybody has any good solutions for protecting windows, please share! That's a question I see often in autism parenting groups, and so far, the answer has been elusive.
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