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Home Modifications: How To Make Changes For A Child With Disabilities


Making home modifications may seem like an overwhelming task, especially if you’re on a tight budget or have never made changes to the interior of your house before. And while they can be tricky to navigate, these changes are important for individuals who are living with a disability, and they may make life easier for everyone in the family.


There are many steps in a home modification project, so taking things one step at a time and planning well is important. Go from room to room to get a sense of what changes need to be made; make a list, then do a little research into what the costs will run. Remember that there will be several factors that go into cost, including materials, and any one of those factors could influence your decision and the outcome of the project. For instance, a threshold ramp in a doorway could cost as little as $100, but larger ramps, depending on material and size, can cost $1,000 to $15,000.

Having a good plan is key, so start here to find a few tips on how to prepare your home and make it more accessible for your child.


Make lists

Getting organized is the first step when it comes to home modifications. You’ll want to look at each section of the house and make lists of any changes that need to be done, and be specific. In the bathroom, you might want to put in relatively inexpensive changes, such as a grab bar and rubber, non-slip mats in the shower, but you’ll need to think about your child’s daily needs at the same time. Does he use a wheelchair or other large equipment? What makes the most sense when it comes to making the bathroom a safe place for him to have privacy and independence? For a good idea of how much home modifications will cost, check out this helpful article.


Look at state and city guidelines

Before making any changes, it’s a good idea to check with the city to make sure there won’t be any building permits needed. Every state has different laws and regulations, and doing the research beforehand will prevent any nasty surprises down the road.


Think mobility

It’s important for your child to have mobility in and around your home, which means it may be necessary to construct ramps or widen doorways. Stairs could be an issue, as well, and may require a lift to be installed. Making it easier for your child to get around will not only keep him safe, it will broaden his independence and allow him to do more for himself.


You should also think about the ease of use for much of your home; what comes easily to you may not be the same for your child, such as opening cabinets and drawers. Installing simple latches (for older children) will make many tasks much easier.


Make it safe

Your child’s safety is imperative, and sometimes that means thinking outside the box when it comes to home modifications. For children on the autism spectrum, changes such as installing a motion detector near the exits may be necessary. Removing clutter and rearranging furniture is another simple but effective way to make positive changes that will affect your child’s ability to stay safe at home, along with adding lighting to dim areas and securing large pieces of furniture to the walls to prevent tipping.


It’s important to talk about the changes with your entire family so that everyone is on the same page, especially if you have other children. Make sure everyone is comfortable with the modifications and is knowledgeable on how to use them. With a good plan and excellent communication, changing your home for the better will be easy.