How To Prepare Your Home For A Child With Disabilities
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Paul Denikin is passionate about sharing his experiences working on DIY projects to benefit people with special needs children.
For many children who are living with a disability, one of the keys to a happy life is learning how to make things accessible, whether it’s at school or at home. Accessibility is one of the easiest ways to gain independence for a child who is differently abled, which can help boost their confidence and self-esteem.
Depending on what type of disability your child has, there are many different options when it comes to preparing your home to be a safe, comfortable environment. Wheelchair users, for instance, may need wider doorways or lower countertops, while children who are living with a learning disability may benefit from areas around the home that are engaging. Children on the autism spectrum may need special safety considerations or a bedroom that provides minimal decor to help them avoid becoming overwhelmed.
There’s a lot to think about, but with a good plan that is catered to your child’s needs, you can create a safe and comfortable space in no time. Here are a few tips on how to get started.
Work out a budget
The first step is to do a little research on what types of modifications you’ll need to make and how much they cost. Most homeowners spend between $1,604 and $14,168 nationally for accessibility modifications, but depending on the type of home you have and what your child’s needs are, you may be eligible for grant money to help defray those costs.
Figure out the exact modifications you need
Once you have a budget, think about the best ways to make changes that will benefit your child’s specific needs. Wider doorways, lower countertops, and changes to ensure safety in the bathroom--such as a shower seat, non-slip rubber mats, and an extendable shower head--are usually the first issues to consider. If you’re unsure about modification guidelines, check out this helpful guide.
No one wants to think about the possibility of an emergency, but it’s best to plan ahead to ensure that everyone in your home is safe, especially if you live in an area where natural disasters are common. Stock up on bottled water, blankets, and canned food and set aside a first aid kit and any medication and comfort items that your child would need if you were housebound for a couple of days. Go over an evacuation plan with each family member in the event of an emergency or fire, and designate a meeting place for everyone in case you get split up.
Look at the outside of your home
Even if the inside of your home is perfectly designed for a person with a disability, it’s possible that the outside could use a little help. Look at the exterior of your home with a discerning eye and eliminate any issues that could lead to a fall or other injury. There should be a handrail on any staircases, concrete should be even and unbroken, and tree limbs should be cut back to prevent hazards.
Know your limitations
There are several DIY projects you can tackle yourself when it comes to making your home a safe and happy environment for your child, but others are more intensive and require a professional. Know what your limitations are and be prepared to spend some money to have a pro take over. Not only will this save you time and frustration, it will ensure that the job is done correctly and in a timely manner.
Preparing your home for your child to grow and thrive in can be a big job, and for that reason it can also be a stressful one. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to do it alone; before you become overwhelmed, reach out to a friend or family member who can support you during this transition period.