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Tough wallcoverings? Blackout film?

(12 Posts)
ouryve Sun 29-Jun-08 14:42:30

DS1 (4 1/2, autistic and hyperactive) hasn't dealt well with bedtimes since the clocks went forward. He has fairly heavy curtains, but can open them and, of course, can turn the light on in his room or on the landing, so keeping the room totally dark is impossible, but all the same I'm wondering if anyone knows of a source of blackout film we could put on his window just to make it a bit dimmer in there.

Of more concern is the fact that during his time of refusing to go to sleep, even if he's dog tired, he's discovered the joy of picking at the textured wallcovering in his room. He started with just picking the tops off the pattern and we were able to just roll our eyes and not make a Big Issue out of it because he has a strong oppositional streak that would make him do it every night if we did make a big deal of it. He's moved on to stripping big patches off, now and the plaster underneath is fairly soft and he's making holes in that. I've covered the worst patches around his bed with fablon, for now, but that will only last so long.

He's always been a big picker and I can't see him growing out of it anytime, soon. Even if he does, his younger brother looks to be on the spectrum, too, so we can't predict he won;t pick up the same habit. So, we need to do something more permanent.

We've had a few thoughts. The house is a cottagy style ex-miner's house and already has some pine panelling on the landing, so we could put that up. Alternatively, we could put up the plastic panelling that some people have in their bathrooms, but I think that would look out of place and might create long term problems with damp. Another idea I've had is to replace the anaglypta with lincrusta wallpaper like they have in pubs, but I'm not sure exactly how tough that would be and it is very expensive. If we went for bare painted plaster, we've have to get the surface skimmed, first and I'm not sure it would last very long, since the lounge wall is already full of holes.

Anyone else have a chronic picker and what have you done, if anything, to make your child's room a bit tougher?

Graciefer Sun 29-Jun-08 16:46:37

We had exactly the same problem with DS1 (5 with ASD), he completely stripped his newly decorated room in less than a week.

He used to have a car bed, which he used to push around the room and climb out of the sunroof onto the roof so he could reach the wallpaper right up to the ceilings.

In the end we got his room replastered and painted (with his bed and all funiture bolted to the floor/walls), he has started recently picking at the paint under his window, but it is much slower going and wouldn't take long to repaint when it gets to bad.

He has also chewed some of the metal corner beading on the chimney breast, but again I am not to worried as it can be filled and painted easily when we decide to.

We have also plastered our bedroom and have came to the conclusion that every room in the house will have to be plastered or completely tiled as we redecorate each room as his wallpaper picking isn't solely in his bedroom, our hallway is getting pretty bare now among other rooms.

We have also realised that as much as we would love him to have a nice bedroom, he isn't half as bothered and until he is, it is an impossible task.

We did start off by removing all the snot and goodness knows what from the walls and touching up all the pits in his paintwork (that he makes by banging his toys against the wall) on a daily basis, now however I make his bed (that he never sleeps in, just wrecks on a nightly basis) and shut his bedroom door each morning and just try to forget about it.

As for his windows, we have the same problem with light. Unfortunately we are always replacing his curtain rails and have stopped replacing the net curtains in his room as they never last longer than a week. We have bought a black out blind for his room, but fear that it won't last very long, so I would be interested in how this window film works, if you do get it.

Ditto on the light switch, however when we replastered his room we got the switch in his bedroom blanked off and a new one fitted outside his room, as his door is bolted (through complete necessity) he is no longer able to keep himself up for hours switching the light on and off.

All this being said, last week we removed all the hard objects and toys from his room as he uses them to bang against his window and to compensate for this we put a couple of pop up tents connected to each other with a tunnel in his room, since we have done that, he has been falling asleep within an hour of going to bed and is still in the tent asleep when we go up in the morning. I think being in the tent helps block out some of the light and therefore he sleeps longer, which is a most unexpected bonus!

ouryve Sun 29-Jun-08 22:36:41

Phew! Thankfully DS1 rarely goes beyond peeling stuff and doesn't chew. He has carpet because it's a lot quieter and he has a hard time with echoey rooms and that has the side effect of making it harder for him to move furniture around. Heck, I struggle!

It is actually possible to get a tent to fit the bed he has (a full continental size pine jobby). I might keep an eye out for one for him. He does have a tent we can put on the floor, but tends to pull it apart and collapse it and really, there's barely enough floor space for it, since it's a long, narrow room.

My main concern with the decor is that I'm not keep on the idea of the boys sleeping in a room with nothing but crumbling plaster on the walls, specially since DS2 does lick a lot and I don't know how much longer he'll be in his cot before he starts climbing out.

And DH found somewhere that sells the blackout film for about £7 a square metre, which is a lot cheaper than anywhere I'd spotted, so he's requested a sample. I'll let you know what it's like.

UniS Sun 29-Jun-08 23:12:25

could you use externtal shutters on the window to black out?

MannyMoeAndJack Mon 30-Jun-08 15:03:33

We had metal shutters installed in our ds's bedroom (similar to the blinds that are used as standard on windows in the rest of Europe) and they render the room completely black. Worth every penny.

ouryve Mon 30-Jun-08 23:28:58

External shutters may be something we consider in the future, since the window frame needs replacing, anyhow. We'd have to find out how that ties in with fire safety, though, since our house is an old 2 up 2 down and literally does just have a front and a back window upstairs - no landing or anything.

magso Tue 01-Jul-08 09:09:49

Hi! We have an old house with old soft plaster that has to have lining paper before painting. However as ds is also a pealer and licker, I used the rather 90s idea of paint followed by a glaze - the sort used after paint tecniques such as rag-rolling. It is washable and covers over the paper edges to inhibit pealing very effectively. It has proved remarkably ds proof!! The only tidy walls in the house are the glased ones!! In ds room we had a few movable decorative stickers up high until he 'got' to them.

magso Tue 01-Jul-08 10:47:57

Ps you can stick flat things like skeleton leaves or transfers under the glaze if you need a more decorative look than plain paint - but it is possible to pick at the leaf/transfer through the glaze if very deturmined grin!

r3dh3d Tue 01-Jul-08 21:13:00

The people who inhabited our house before us varnished the walls. Retrospectively, I think one DS was a smearer. hmm

It's not a solution for the faint-heated because no paint will stick to it ever after; if you wanted to redecorate you'd have to sand it all down then apply a universal primer. As we know to our cost. But I should think a couple of coats of clear varnish would make it very difficult for nails to get a purchase.

sphil Tue 01-Jul-08 22:40:42

Very timely thread for me - DS2 is taking longer and longer to get to sleep atm, and it also started when the clocks went forward. I was at an OT course today and blackout film was mentioned. We can't use blinds as he would just get underneath them - he spends all the time until it gets dark behind his curtains staring out of the window. The OT also mentioned making him a small den in his room (which is long and narrow) - a pop up tent is a great idea.

I'd be very interested in a source for the blackout film.

Graciefer Thu 10-Jul-08 20:35:03

Just been to check on DS1 and thought I would take a photo of the carnage we face almost nightly to show our new social worker, since she has only met DS1 once and he was an absolute angel.

We don't want her to think we are fantasists, or completely neurotic parents with no basis to show worry or concern now, do we? wink

Since I tempted fate and said that the tent has solved some of our problems, I thought I would share this photo with you grin

Darling DS1 in his newly (fairly) decorated room, ahhh bless

theheadgirl Thu 10-Jul-08 22:14:29

Holy Crap! But bless him, even though I know he caused all that mess, he still looks like an angel when he's asleep!
I have a similar prob, with DD3. I need to move her in to our smallest room so she can be on her own, but don't think the window is secure enough. Has anyone had any luck with getting grants from the council to make a room suitable for a disabled child (pauses for hysterical laughter...)

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