By Paul Denikin, Guest Blogger from DadKnowsDIY
Having a child with special needs can be one of the most amazing, eye-opening, and frustrating experiences a parent can have. The amazing part comes daily; the frustration comes when it’s time to find the best ways to comfort, teach, and love our children and help them feel safe.
Taking steps to accommodate for your home for your child is important for two reasons. While your child is young, you’ll want their home to be inviting and soothing, especially if they are homeschooled or aren’t comfortable being outside of the house often. And if you plan on passing the home over to them or their caregiver when they’re older, you’ll want to take the right steps now to ensure the home is functional and accessible for them for years to come.
Doing this on a budget—or on a limited time frame—can be tricky, but never fear! There are many simple DIY projects you can tackle that will make your home more accommodating for your child with special needs, and they won’t break the bank. Here are five of the best.
Create a sensory room
If you homeschool your child or have a playroom or other open area, consider making your own sensory room. This can be a place for your child to go when they are feeling overwhelmed, tired, or just bored, and it can be a great respite from school work. Soft seating areas with textured pillows, string lights, homemade sparkly, beaded “chandeliers,” fluorescent blocks under a blacklight, and a sensory table are all great ideas for this room and can be made on the cheap with inexpensive materials and a Saturday afternoon.
Especially handy where very young children are concerned, video monitors are wonderful tools for families of kids with special needs because they allow moms, dads, and caregivers to keep an eye on several rooms at once. They can give peace of mind for everyone involved, allowing older kids to see the adults even when they aren’t together.
Think about accessibility
Many children with special needs get around just fine on their own, but for some, daily tasks such as showers or baths, or reaching something on a high shelf, can be tricky. Take a look around and picture your home the way your child will see it. Would a safety bar or shower seat be helpful in the bathroom? These are easily installed and can be useful for everyone. Are the cabinets and drawers easily accessible? It might be time to change out knobs for levers, go to an open-cabinet system, or simply move things around a bit so they are easier to get to.
Change out stairs for ramps
Stairs can be a hazard for anyone, so consider upgrading to a ramp. This is something that you should contact a contractor for, as is widening doorways for wheelchair accommodation. Always seek advice from a professional before attempting to make structural changes to your home. If you are considering such changes, remember that you may be able to apply for a tax credit or grant to help with the expense.
Check all safety equipment
All alarms, such as those for fire or carbon monoxide, should be checked often and batteries should always be up-to-date. Consider installing a motion sensor at any exits in the home, especially if your child is very young or is prone to wandering. Locks should be placed on all cabinets or drawers that hold medicine, weapons, or sharp objects.
For more ideas and information from Paul Denikin, visit DadKnowsDIY.com
* Photo via Pixabay by AdinaVoicu