Flat redesign: benchmarks & barriers.

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It’s been really hard to feel safe at home recently as can’t walk very well. We don’t know how long it’s going to be till I can walk better.

We have all the medical things in progress, physio etc is being arranged and there’s some other treatment options in the future.

However that doesn’t help with my day to day much. So we’re going to focus instead on the barriers in my life and start engineering solutions to them.


In the last week or so I’ve been keeping track of the barriers I am experiencing and working through a series of benchmarks.

The idea is that the benchmarks measure something we want to improve and the barriers are what stand between me and the improvement I want.

I did 4 days home with my flatmate over the weekend. During that time I also experienced with ADHD meds.

The benchmarks I am using are:

  1. It takes me ~1 minute to walk to the lounge and ~20 minutes to recover. I’d prefer for the walk to be slower (3 mins) but with a faster recovery (5mins) so the total time and discomfort is lower

  2. I don’t feel safe unless someone is in the room with me. I’d like to feel safe all of the time. If someone is with me or not.

  3. I’ve fallen over and been unable to get up or get help 3 times. I’d like to fall over less (twice a week at most) and I want to be able to get help at any time if I need too.
  4. It took me 13 minutes and a lot of discomfort to get to my friends house. I’d like this to be quicker and easier. This is important for covering emergencies.

So those are the benchmarks. Let’s think about the barriers themselves.


The first Barrier is distance between rest stops. Most of the time when I get tired it’s because I can’t reach a safe rest spot. So the barrier is that the rest spots are too far apart.

If we had enough space a wheelchair might be a good solution, but the hallway is to narrow.

So instead our solution to this barrier is to add more rest spots around my flat. We started this last night by taking the door off the cupboard in the hallway and putting in a chair.

I’m going to add more chairs. One in the kitchen and maybe one in the bathroom. As a bonus being more mobile should also improve my sense of safety.

Talking of safety, the second set of barriers all there a few barriers effecting my physical safety. My bed is the only place I feel safe. I keep falling over side ways when I am sat down in other places like the sofa or my work chair.

I’m going to swap some furniture around. I have things like a sim racing chair and a buggy. I will try those as they are deep and wide. Harder to fall out. I spent some time today sat on a chair with a harness (spare race car harness + dining chair) and that felt really good. I didn’t need to hold myself up which felt safer.

Another way to help reduce the safety barrier is to have a mega big tidy of my lounge. Remove all the sharp edges and make sure I have enough hand holds etc.

The third set of barriers relate to falling over. When I fall over I need a way to get help. Or at least, a way to get help if I want it.

I often don’t have my phone on me. I may see if I can find a sling or someone for my phone to go in so it’s always with me.

I’ve also got an Apple Watch. So I’ll practice using it to make phone calls.

The final barrier set is moving around outside. To get to my friends house. This barrier is a little harder to resolve. We’re looking at a few options (electric scooter, trike, wheelchair etc). We need to do more research.

Final thoughts

I am keen to keep my mind focused on the engineering. Recognising that I don’t feel safe at home is critical. Responding to it by eliminating the barriers puts me in control.

I can’t control what happens with my legs, but recovery of my life isn’t dependent on my legs. I need to build an environment which works whatever legs I happen to have each day.


Spaced Out & Smiling is about exploring the fun side of Autism, and trying to understand what it means to be Autistically Happy.

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