Jamie Knight is a 29-year-old research engineer at the BBC, who needed to modify his home environment, (specifically his bed) to suit his needs. Being autistic, he found that “a typical environment is pretty chaotic” which means his brain is in constant need of structure and predictability.
Jamie’s Lion is a 4ft-long soft toy which never leaves his side, giving him comfort and grounding him in moments when he feels most overloaded and anxious.
After taking big steps forward in independent living, Jamie approached us for help with his bed as he was spending more time sleeping at home alone. He’d found standard beds difficult to sleep in as they didn’t meet his needs for robustness and security.
Jamie came to us knowing exactly what he wanted in terms of the functionality of the bed, with a specific brief. He wanted the lower half of the bed to be designed around his existing Lego boxes.
He wanted the bed to make him feel safe, which meant he needed to feel enclosed but also needed to be able to see what was going on in his bedroom. Being able to see what was on the other side of the panels was paramount to creating a peaceful environment for him to sleep in.
Jamie also wanted to have the ability to position his bed in various positions, future-proofing against any potential house changes.
The bed was designed completely from scratch based on the ideas and requirements that Jamie required. We worked through several revisions making sure each section was how he wanted it before adding more elements or design features.
We started with an enclosed sleep space with high sides to create an enclosed feel. We added built-in handles for getting in and out of bed easily and cut-outs in the sides so he could see the rest of the room.
To ensure the bed was future-proofed for Jamie, we made the lower storage sections and the side panels bolt-out, allowing for the bed to be re-assembled as a mirror image of the original version with basic tools.
As this wasn’t an urgent piece of furniture and the result needed to be right for Jamie’s needs, it was a detailed process.
From the first design to delivery it took approximately 8 weeks to complete this project.
The bed was delivered and assembled in the room by our delivery team as usual. The element of the cut-out side panels was added on after so Jamie and a friend were able to carry out this change themselves.
This project gave us a clear insight into the needs and requirements of individuals with anxiety arising from autism, which is something we’re looking to integrate into a future range of furniture that will be designed specifically with anxiety-calming measures in mind.
Together, all the added 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 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
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