A Home Preparation Guide for New Parents with Disabilities

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Becoming a parent is one of the most joyous and exciting things a person can experience.  New parents will quickly learn that it is a continuous process and will be a lifelong adventure.  Keeping that in mind, preparing your home for your new addition is, but so is going easy on yourself when you realize just how underprepared you are once your child arrives.  That said, here are a few ideas for preparing your home that you may not have considered.

Protecting You and Your Baby

An abundance of resources exist that tell parents how to prepare their home in order to protect their baby.  They typically discuss everything from baby gates to outlet covers, as well as nursery-specific dos and don’ts.  What these resources don’t cover is how to protect the parents, or at least make their lives easier, which subsequently also protects the child.  Parents with disabilities know this is especially important and may already have made some home modifications to meet their own needs.  

Avoiding or eliminating obstacles that prevent you from providing the best care for your child is the ultimate goal in preparing your home. It is a good idea to evaluate the existing home thoroughly and consider if any previous modifications pose a potential hazard or if new modifications are needed.  Consider what you’ll be doing for or with your baby that you may not have had to do in the past.  This will help you conduct a more thorough needs assessment so you end up with a better analysis of what additional changes may be needed.  Remember, this won’t be perfect.  What might work when you first bring your newborn home may not work once he or she is a toddler, and how you’re able to handle child care may change once you get some experience.  

Room by Room

Start by working through your home room by room to identify potential areas for improvement.  For example, if you have visual limitations, consider marking products in your pantry using braille labels or textured tape to help you quickly and accurately identify the product.  This can work in any room in the house. It is also a good idea to make sure you have accurately sized measures to help you when preparing formula or other baby foods. Find measuring spoons and cups that let you measure the exact amount of product you need to help make meal preparation a snap. Adding other sensory tools, like specially designed baby monitors, might prove useful as well if you have hearing or visual limitations.  

If mobility issues are a concern, you may have already found a number of adaptive products that help you transport your baby when you are on the go. For certain disabilities, these types of products may be essential.  For others, like toys that allow you to interact effectively with your baby, you may find that creating your own is just as effective and less expensive.  Other considerations include adding grab bars to your bathroom or other areas of the home to make safely reaching your baby for bathing or changing easier.  Adding non-slip mats is also a good idea since spills are bound to happen. For more information, check out this informative guide on home modifications for parents with disabilities.  

Taking precautions and making home improvements that help you care for your child will be a learning process.  You don’t always need to focus on remodeling or big changes in order to have the best results.  As your baby grows, your needs are likely to change as much as your child’s, so don’t be afraid to adapt your approach. Keeping both the parents and baby healthy is the goal.  

  Ashely Taylor

See more information on their website: http://disabledparents.org