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Redesigning Your Bathroom for a Child with Special Needs

Adopting a child with special physical needs means you will have to seriously consider the layout of certain rooms in your home. The bathroom specifically may have to be redesigned or could require specialist equipment to meet the needs of your son or daughter. Bathrooms come in many shapes and sizes but when it comes to the needs of the disabled there are few common features to keep in mind. One of the most important parts is accessibility and how easy the bathroom is to reach. A ground floor bathroom is the best option and you can always consider the addition of an en suite or shower room in your child’s bedroom if this is possible.

Adapting Your Bathroom

It’s easy for most of us to take for granted the simple act of reaching up to a shelf or table top but this is sometimes not such a straightforward task for those with disabilities. Special consideration should be given to the height of furniture such as bathroom cabinets and tables. Wall cabinets should be lowered to an appropriate height to ensure your child does not have to reach up or step on something to gain access. This is a small, easy-to-perform job that should only require the removal and reattachment of the cabinet.

Railings and Support

Children with walking difficulties will need extra support in the bathroom and this can come in the form of additional handrails. Grab rails can be placed on walls beside the toilet and fixed, standing hand rails are also available. There’s now the option of removable grab rails with suction cups that stick to the wall; these are a handy option as you can move them around the home as required. Hand rails can also be placed beside the bath or shower to make getting into and out of the tub or shower unit much easier.

Baths and Showers

Physically disabled children might also find it difficult to stand in a shower or lie down in a bath, but there are a number of ways you can make these daily tasks more manageable. Consider implementing a moveable bath or shower seat or, for people with leg mobility problems, bath lifts and hoists are the ideal solution. Shower seats can be fixed to the wall for additional safety, while a bath step may be all that is required to help your child gain access to the tub. Bath hand rails can be fitted for additional safety purposes. In providing these facilities in your home, you can make your child feel safe and give them a level of independence. Remember that the amount of space in your bathroom is important, especially for those who have difficulty in walking and turning round or for those with wheelchairs – doors and walkways sometimes need to be widened. It shouldn’t be a huge financial expense to make a bathroom accessible and easy to use for children with disabilities but the cost will of course depend on the amount of work needed. You may find that there are grants available through your local authority so it’s worth seeking help from places like the Citizens Advice Bureau before you begin any refurbishments.

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