Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Non-Traditional Home Modifications for Children with Special Needs: Families Can Benefit from Looking at How Their Child Functions Daily in Their Current Environment and What Challenges Exist

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Non-Traditional Home Modifications for Children with Special Needs: Families Can Benefit from Looking at How Their Child Functions Daily in Their Current Environment and What Challenges Exist

Article excerpt

Parents of children with disabilities may need "environmental modifications" for their home or vehicle. Many articles focus on the conventional modifications such as ramps, lifts, and accessible vans. This piece will examine non-traditional modifications that families can do and how to find funding for home modifications for their child.

WHAT DO CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES NEED?

There is no easy answer to this as it depends on the child's special healthcare needs. For example, families can look at how their child functions daily in their current environment and what challenges exist. If the family is moving, they can look at homes that may best suit their needs such as those with existing ramps or on a single floor. If a child is medically-fragile, s/he would have different needs.

ACCESSIBLE ROOMS

Besides the obvious wheelchair accessibility and eliminating stairs or using lifts, parents can look at things that may make it simpler for their child to do things more independently. For example, maybe a non-skid tub floor, adjustable showerhead, shower chair, or shower with built in benches is needed. Or perhaps grab bars in the shower, grab bars near the toilet, or a comfortable height toilet seat will help the child be able to do daily tasks more easily. Some children may not need "roll in" showers for wheelchairs, but could need the new "walk in" showers so they don't have to try to climb over the tub wall. Parents may have to "babyproof" their home to keep their child safe. This could also include locking and alarming doors (including indoors like basements) for children who wander, or using baby monitors at night, for example, if their child has seizures. Families may want to get rid of area rugs as tripping hazards. Parents may also want to turn down the water heater to below 120 degrees to prevent burns. Simple adaptations can be switching to easier grip doorknobs and faucet handles.

EMERGENCY GENERATORS

One of the biggest concerns of families who have children with medical equipment is the loss of electricity. There are both standalone whole house generators as well as more affordable portable generators. Again, it depends on the needs of the child. Some utility companies have priority power restoration for those with life-threatening illness. However, perhaps a child just needs their medication refrigerated so a portable generator will do. But if a child is medically fragile and requires climate control, perhaps a whole house generator is better.

HEATING/AIR CONDITIONING

One thing parents may do even if they have central air conditioning is to get a window unit in case the unit needs to be repaired and put it just in their child's room. This would also work for a portable generator. Besides climate control to keep children with medical conditions safe, there are other things families can do that will affect their child's health. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.