Since you spend much of your time at home, you want it to be functional. For families of kids with special needs, this can sometimes be tricky. Here are a few home additions to consider adding to your space.
1. Widen Entryways
If your child has a wheelchair, narrow doors may be a problem. Trying to fit through tight spaces can be frustrating. Narrow doors are also inconvenient. Suppose they have an assistive mobility device, such as a walker. So, widen the doorway, swing it in the opposite direction or install special hinges. You want the door to be at least 36 inches wide for easy access.
2. Replace Your Hardware
Some doors come with round knobs or fixtures. These can be tough for children with disabilities to grasp and maneuver. So, switch them out with a handle or lever-style fixture for easier use. Plus, this will also help them to feel more independent. Change kitchen cabinet hardware and door handles in their bedroom and bathroom.
3. Install Special Fire Alarms
For those with hearing disabilities, a standard fire alarm won’t do the trick. This can cause them to move slower in case of an emergency. Install visual alarm systems as an extra backup. The devices reflect pulses of flashing light. That way, you can ensure everyone in the family is properly notified if a fire occurs.
4. Add Ramps and Assistive Devices
If your kid has mobility challenges, stairs can be frustrating to deal with. So, install a chair lift to make it easier for them to get upstairs. In addition, create more level areas in the rest of the home. If you have the budget, upgrade to a residential elevator. It can give your child the freedom to roam around the entire house.
Remember to make the backyard accessible too. Place ramps near your entryway. Keep a clear path to the front door and remove weeds and any larger furniture.
5. Upgrade the Bathroom
The bathroom can cause potential challenges to children with disabilities. So, make changes to fit your child’s unique needs. Think about how you can make the layout more adaptable for them.
Here are a few upgrades to consider:
- Raise or lower the seat height of the toilet.
- Install grab bars.
- Have a walk-in shower.
- Add more storage for medical supplies.
- Lower countertops and light switches.
6. Consider Hardwood Flooring
Carpets are comfy but can be hard to navigate with a wheelchair. Also, over time rugs may start to unravel, creating a tripping hazard. Hardwood creates a smooth pathway that is easier to navigate. Plus, hardwood has many benefits. It’s durable, eco-friendly, and has a beautiful appearance. It can even increase the resale value of your home. In fact, the average return on investment (ROI) is about 70% to 80%.
7. Lower Hanging Rods and Shelves in the Bedroom
For those in wheelchairs, it can be hard to reach higher items. So, lowering hangers and shelves in a child’s bedroom is essential. This can give them a greater feeling of independence. It can also encourage them to tidy their room without too much pushback.
Here are a few beneficial upgrades to make to the bedroom:
- Install tall vertical shelves for books and toys.
- Switch to levers for the door.
- Make sure the desk is wide and deep enough for wheelchair access.
- Move down light switches.
- Install wall-to-wall flooring.
8. Try to Prevent Sensory Overload
Suppose your child has sensory sensitivities. Then consider how you can change certain features. For example, remove fluorescent lighting. This type of lighting can be too harsh, so replace it with softer fixtures. You can also enlarge windows or paint with light colors to help bring in more natural light. Another issue is that too many wall pictures can feel overwhelming to your kids. Try to limit artwork and clutter to create a more calming atmosphere.
Plus, use colors your child likes and avoid any that may trigger them. Along with sensory detail, consider sound-reducing materials in high-traffic areas. Also, limit the amount of outside noise with window coverings and sealants.
9. Create a Dedicated Play Space
Adding a special playroom can give your child their own space. It can be the perfect spot for them to focus on their therapy and try new activities. Create a room that is easy to focus on with minimal decorations and clutter.
Also, add sensory toys, such as fidget spinners. You can also use the playroom as an area for kids to calm down if they start to act up. It allows you to separate them from the rest of their siblings and focus on their needs.
10. Install Alternative Exercise Options
Exercise is critical for a healthy body. It can improve muscle strength and ensure. It can also boost your mood by releasing feel-good hormones such as endorphins. In fact, kids need about 60 minutes of physical activity each day.
However, not all standard exercise equipment may work for them. Try adding a pull-up bar to increase your child’s strength. If you have enough room in the budget, install a pool for aquatic therapy.
How to Improve Your Home for Your Special Needs Child
You want all your kids to feel comfortable in the home. Making simple modifications can give your child a sense of independence. Consider these upgrades for your next remodeling project.