Remodeling for a child with a disability: unique considerations
When remodeling for a child with a disability, think of them and your family.
Where do you need services?
Children with disabilities have unique needs that often require adjustments to their home environments. To best meet these needs, there are certain considerations to keep in mind when remodeling your home for a child with a disability. Renovations should be designed to provide an accessible, comfortable and safe home for your child.
It's important that your child is able to access all appropriate areas of the home. If your house is multiple stories, you may consider having an elevator installed so your child can safely access upstairs and downstairs.
Ensure that the flooring allows for smooth transitions between surfaces. If your child uses a wheelchair, you may need to modifying interior and exterior doors for wheelchair access.
When remodeling for a child with a disability, considerations should also be made to ensure the comfort of your child:
- Set switches and control pads at a height where the child can comfortably reach them.
- Television screens should be placed at a height that doesn't require your child to look up uncomfortably.
- Add ramps outside and in the garage for comfortable wheelchair movement.
Residential remodeling should also increase the safety of your home. Cameras and intercoms will help monitor your child's safety from another room.
Toilets with grab bars increase safety and ease of transfer. Bathtubs that are accessible by door are really nice. In order to prevent accidents resulting from your child losing balance when reaching for a faucet, faucets throughout the home need to be within your child's reach.
Children with disabilities who are unable to support their own weight or are too heavy to be safely lifted may benefit from track lift systems. Track lift systems can be installed in bathrooms, bedrooms, above pieces of furniture and other areas where the child is likely to need assistance with movement.
Track lift systems can give children with disabilities the independence of moving around without their wheelchairs and can be helpful for physical therapists.
Lift systems also help prevent family members, guardians or the children themselves from being injured during transport.
You may find it best to contact a licensed contractor who has experience accommodating disabilities to help you with these renovations. Some contractors may have more experience and knowledge than others in the area of remodeling for a child with a disability.
Use Reply! to find contractors in your area in order to request estimates. Be sure to speak with each contractor about your child's specific needs to ensure you choose a contractor who can perform renovations designed specifically for your family. Ask for references, example projects and state licensing number.
Accessibility, comfort and safety are important considerations in remodeling for a child with a disability. Just as no two children are exactly alike, each renovation is going to be different. Your home renovation should take into account the specific needs of your child and family as well as the unique characteristics of your home.