Jamie Knight is a 29-year-old research engineer at the BBC. Being autistic, he needed to modify his home environment to meet his needs.
In his own words ‘a typical environment is pretty chaotic’ which means his brain is in constant need of structure and predictability. The Lion – his 4ft-long soft toy never leaves his side. The Lion gives him comfort and grounds him in moments when he feels most ‘overloaded’ and anxious.
Jamie originally came to Tough Furniture for help with his bed. Having recently taken big steps forward in independent living, he was increasingly spending time sleeping at home alone. Jamie had found standard beds difficult to sleep in. They didn’t meet his needs for robustness and security. He needed features to enhance the sense of safety and to build successful sleep routines.
We worked iteratively with Jamie to develop a bed to meet his needs. Starting with an enclosed sleeping space, we worked through a number of revisions. Adding built-in handles for getting in and out of bed easily, gaps that allowed him to see into his room and finally an elastic strap between the handles which served as a reminder to stay in bed if he woke up in the middle of the night.
Together, all these features made it possible for Jamie to feel safer and more comfortable in his environment; his quality of sleep improved dramatically and the action of setting up the straps at the end of the day clearly delineated bedtime – reducing his anxiety and adding to the feeling of structure and routine.
“If something happened to the bed, I’d order a replacement the same day. It’s that essential to my day-to-day stability, autonomy and happiness.” Jamie + Lion