Some Tips for Making Your Home Accessible to a Disabled Child

Kids with physical challenges need, and deserve, accessible surroundings in which they can grow. But modifying your home for your child’s well-being can quickly tax the resources of even an affluent parent. In this post, we’ll look at the factors involved with creating an accessible environment and resources for overcoming any obstacles you’ll face along the way.

Breaking Down the Modifications

Modifications can vary depending on the specific child’s needs and considerations. Here are some of the essential features a home must have in order to serve as a good candidate for accessibility modifications, as reported by Easter Seals and Century 21:

  • Paved walkways from the parking area to the front door.
  • Either ground-level access or a lot of sufficient size and clearing to install a wheelchair ramp. The ramp should rise no more than one foot in height for every 12 feet in length. According to Angie’s List, a ramp can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $15,000.
  • A main floor free of steps and sudden elevation changes. An open floor plan with minimal interior walls is ideal.
  • A restroom with minimum 5’x5′ open space and a door width of 32″ or greater.
  • Doorways with a minimum 32″ width.
  • Hallways with a minimum width of 42”, though 48″ or wider is preferred.
  • A kitchen large enough to allow a person in a wheelchair to maneuver with ease.

Homes meeting these standards will most likely require added modifications to meet accessibility guidelines. These may include:

  • Grab bars in the shower stall.
  • A bedroom with enough space for the person to move about freely.
  • Enhanced lighting to accommodate reduced vision.
  • Slip-resistant flooring.

Fortune reports that smart-home features like automated lights, climate control, and window treatments can also enhance life for the disabled, making these investments a wise move for parents of children who are physically challenged.

Meeting the Costs

It may seem insurmountable when considering the costs associated with these types of modifications. But there are a variety of resources worth considering. These include:

  • Income-sensitive federal government programs that can help those of limited means to make the necessary modifications.
  • Private lenders such as banks and other commercial lenders.
  • Programs sponsored by county, city or state governments. Sometimes these involve direct grants, other times they help parents to obtain low-interest loans for accessibility improvements.
  • Philanthropic, religious or fraternal organizations that assist families with disabled children.
  • Crowdsourcing via the Internet.

There are many sources of funding exist for people in your situation. So take heart. Chances are excellent that you’ll find the help you need.

No matter which funding route you take, you should take a few preliminary steps to get the ball rolling. These include:

  • Soliciting bids from contractors. You should get estimates only from remodelers who have experience with and professional certifications in the type of modifications needed to make your home accessible.
  • Getting your paperwork in order. You’ll need your deed, a list of proposed modifications, bids, tax forms, and other documents before approaching either lenders or agencies.
  • Any details that you feel might improve your chances of approval. These can include information about your family, your child, and/or your financial situation. Are you or your spouse a veteran? If so, then this can open doors that otherwise might remain closed.

Making your home accessible for your child doesn’t have to be an impossible task. We hope the information in this post gives you a good starting point for your search. Finding the means to accommodate a disabled child is sometimes difficult, but your child is more than worth the effort.