Living with a child with cerebral palsy can pose certain challenges, especially if your home is not adapted to the special needs of the child. Modifying your home to meet your child’s needs will go a long way in making the child comfortable. Some of these modifications will also reduce the possibility of accidents by removing barriers and other things that may harm your child. In this article, we explain some of the modifications that could help make your home a safe and more comfortable place for your child.
Get expert help during the planning
Home modifications are typically expensive and not easy to change once done. Because of this, it is important that you get as much advice as possible as well as weigh in your own personal needs. A lot of this advice can be obtained from construction experts as well as medical facilities that often have to be built with such children in mind. If your child is undergoing cerebral palsy treatment in Toronto, his or her caregiver will be a useful source of information for what to do and what not to do.
While planning, it is important to remember that your child’s needs will change as he or she grows older and so this must be factored in when you are planning the modifications to make to your home. Finally, do not forget that this is your home at the end of the day and it is important that it become a comfortable place for you as well. Having a safe and comfortable home for you and your child are not mutually exclusive. As much as possible, remember to take care of your own needs as well.
Make your home wide and accessible
Since your child might be moving around with a wheelchair, it is important to ensure that your doorways and pathways are wide enough to allow for a wheelchair to move comfortably around. Make sure that your bathrooms and other spaces have enough space to move around without the wheels of the wheelchair getting stuck on fixtures. If possible, brief the constructor on why you need the extra spacing so he or she can modify the spaces with your child in mind.
As your child grows older, remember that some things may be adjusted to ease access. These include light switches, electrical sockets and other items that your child might need. Shelves and towels rods may be lowered as well for easier access.
Some of these barriers include fixtures on which the wheels or other parts of your child’s wheel chair may get stuck. These also include towel racks, elaborate furniture and other similar things. Ensure that furniture and fixtures are as unobtrusive as possible to help your child get around easily. Other forms of barriers include doorsteps, which can be replaced with ramps to ensure smooth access with a wheelchair. Other barriers may be less obvious. For example, avoid deep pile carpets and instead go for hard floors or low pile carpets, which are easier for the wheels of the wheelchair to move on.
Performing other modifications
Budget allowing, you might consider installing a lift so that your child can access the upstairs section of the house. In that case, you will have to make modifications to your ceiling so as to allow for installation of an elevator. A good contractor will give you advice on what needs to be done in such cases. Other modifications include grab bars on the walls, which may then require reinforcement of the walls to make them sturdy enough to support the weight. All in all, changes will have to be done to the masonry of the house to allow for fittings and other modifications that ease access for your child.
Modifying your home to cater for a child with cerebral palsy is an important step in ensuring that your child has a safe and comfortable home. Proper planning before you start modifications will help you save on costs as well as make your home adaptable to the changing needs of your child as he or she grows older.