Taking care of a child is already a monumental task, but taking care of a child with disability can be even more of a challenge. A child with disability may require anything from medication and special amenities to therapy sessions, and perhaps even specialized education. Preparing your home to accommodate the needs of your young family member is an important part of their care.
Unfortunately, this task can be just as overwhelming as actually taking care of the child. You need the right mindset, patience, and a good grasp of what your home needs to make things easier for your child. If you find yourself having trouble finding where to start, check out some of these important pointers.
1. Think Beyond Home Additions
Some people think that preparing a home for a child with disability is mostly about keeping a stock of medical supplies and equipment or adding safety and accessibility features. Making your home disability-friendly for the child takes more than that; it’s also about forming a comfortable environment that will nurture the child’s growth and development.
Besides adding facilities, how can you prepare your home for a child with special needs? It starts with having the right attitude and making sure that everyone in your home understands the needs of your young family member. Patience and a better understanding of the child’s disabilities create a friendly environment that can help the child have a more positive outlook on life.
2. Research about Remodeling Options
Standard home layouts could pose a problem for children with movement-impairing disabilities. This is especially true for children who have to use wheelchairs to move around the home, since furniture and other things can get in their way. Fortunately, it’s possible to remodel key parts of your home to make it more wheelchair-friendly. In fact, simply rearranging the furniture could make a big enough difference.
Look at different remodeling options for different areas in your home. For example, you could switch to longer doorknob handles or even swing doors that the child would have an easier time using. You can also add extra grab bars by the shower and next to the toilet. Motion-sensor lights to aid children with limited reach can be installed in every room. It doesn’t have to be a total home makeover; just a few key changes should be enough.
3. Spic and Span Means Safe
An unkempt home can be a hazard for a child with disability, especially those with impaired vision. If you have not done so already, get into the habit of making sure the home is free from clutter. Pay special attention to areas of the home frequented by the child: hallways, their bedroom, the living room, and the bathroom.
While some items may look great on display, you have to start prioritizing the child’s needs. This could mean moving that fancy vase on the desk or getting rid of that standing shelf that’s always been in the way. The fewer objects that can pose a hazard, the safer the child is.
4. Use Smart Devices
Many “Smart” Appliances these days allow you to control different devices in your home using a single connected device, like a tablet or smartphone. For most people, this makes things a little more convenient. For a child with disabilities, it’s a valuable option that may allow him to change things such as the room temperature, door locks, and even lights and speakers without the need for extra assistance.
At first glance, using smart devices may only seem like a matter of convenience. However, it also gives the child the feeling that they are capable of performing different tasks at home on their own. This slight boost in confidence greatly helps in making a child learn to live with their disability.
Preparing the home for a child with disability can take quite a lot of time and resources, but the positive effect it can have on a growing child is anything but trivial. By creating an accommodating, positive environment, you’re allowing children with disabilities to live happier lives despite the challenges and hardships that may come their way.