Every parent wants only the best for their children with disabilities. If their little one had a disability, parents would do everything in their power to stop the disability from affecting their child’s quality of life.
As these disabilities come in various forms, from vision and hearing impairment and many forms of physical impairment to neurodevelopmental disorders like autism, ADHD, dyslexia, Tourette’s syndrome, Down syndrome, and traumatic brain injury, they affect children in different ways.
Although parents have to personalize their approach to the needs of their children, here are some of the ways how you can make your home safe and comfy for your kids.
Plan with the future in mind
For starters, it’s very important for parents to be aware of their child’s condition and how it might develop in the future. This plays a vital role when making any sort of modifications to the family home. For instance, some conditions stay the same while there are some disabilities where the child’s abilities can improve or worsen over time.
With that in mind, you need to plan for the future. If your child is disabled due to injury and their mobility might improve with physical therapy, you will need some temporary solutions that you can remove later on. On the other hand, if your child is expected to have bigger mobility issues, then you will need to look into ways how you can make further adjustments to your home.
Our homes are full of potential dangers that we seem to overlook if we don’t have a disability. However, being a parent of a disabled child means that you will constantly be on the lookout for things that might harm your bundle of joy, regardless of how old they might be. It doesn’t matter if you have a toddler, a teenager, or an adult child, you want to prevent all possible injuries that could occur at home.
You want to assess all zones where your child could fall, such as beds, bathtubs, and staircases. If your home has a few floors, you want to make sure that everything that your child might need is located downstairs, so that there is no need for them to use the stairs. With time, they might want some independence, which is why you have to ensure they will not hurt themselves while you are not present. You can also create zones that are safe to use and mark those that might be dangerous.
Make the backyard easy to use
While reading up on your child’s disability, you might encounter some studies that show that people with disabilities can develop certain mental health issues as well. Disorders like depression might not be a part of the condition but they can become a secondary condition. This is why you have to provide your child with an environment that can support them emotionally.
For instance, having access to the outdoors is very beneficial as sunlight plays a big role in preventing depression. With that in mind, creating a safe backyard is of the essence. Start by making the space accessible and install a ramp if your child uses a wheelchair. Then, you want to enclose the garden so that your child can’t wander off and you want to make sure you are using the right materials in the garden. Falling on gravel can be painful and cause various injuries, so opt for grass or leaf mulch. Furthermore, you also want to steer clear of toxic, poisonous, and sharp plants and consider planting a veggie garden where you and your child can work together and grow some tasty food.
Pay attention to their sensory needs
There are many reasons that can cause sensory processing complications like hyposensitivity or hypersensitivity. Parents need to put a lot of time into discovering their children’s triggers and getting rid of them or minimizing their presence in the home.
Many children with disabilities and sensory issues have a problem with sounds, which is why you might have to use the vacuum or run the dishwasher only once your child is asleep. Moreover, you should look into materials that can reduce noise in spaces where your child spends plenty of time and even consider soundproofing their room as that will provide them with a safe space. Then, you might have to use soothing colors around the home (and avoid those that are too bright) as well as installing dimmer switches that will allow you to dim the lights when they bother your little one. Finally, you might have to cut down on clutter and various décor pieces if they prove to be too distracting.
If you are a parent to a child with a disability and are not sure where to start when it comes to making your home a safe place, there are many resources that can provide you with plenty of information and support. The above-listed four are just a starting point but you can always find a local organization that will help you with the specifics.
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–CPFN – a resource for families with children with cerebral palsy