When children require a wheelchair to move around, every location they frequently spend time in must be analyzed. Often, homes, schools, playgrounds, and museums are studied to find ways to make entering and exiting more simple, as well as moving around inside.
But a child’s room isn’t just a place for movement. Their room is the place where they build their imagination. It’s likely where they do their homework, or sit on their computer and learn about the world. Though movement is a very important factor in accessibility, it’s not the only one that should be considered when designing a child’s room. Below are some ideas for optimizing a child’s room for both wheelchair access and a child’s overall success and happiness.
Of course, if a child can’t move around in their room, or access basic needs, then they won’t be able to facilitate their own learning and development in their space. Parents should assess their child’s abilities and design a room where their child can thrive. Obviously, they should be able to move in and out of their room, but they also need to be able to move around the space safely. This applies to the whole house, not just their bedroom. Check out ADA handrail requirements for ramps and other information that will help you build a safe space for your child to move around.
A child’s room is often where they spend a lot of their downtime. It can be a haven for them to unwind from stressful days, a place where they can recharge and center their thoughts. It’s important to create areas where your child can do activities they enjoy. Try creating a reading nook, complete with easy-to-access books and proper lighting. Make a whiteboard table where they can brainstorm, doodle, and create. You can even make it adjustable in height and angle so that they can adjust it for ultimate comfort. Provide fun things to do that foster creativity and allow them to use their imaginations.
Preparation for the Outside World
All kids face challenges when it comes to new experiences, especially school. Kids who require wheelchairs for mobility often feel heightened anxiety when going new places or meeting new people. A large part of this is because a lot of buildings aren’t made with them in mind, and a lot of people aren’t used to interacting with people in wheelchairs.
Luckily, public schools are required to meet ADA accessibility requirements, and teachers are improving in accommodating students with varying needs. Still, there is a lot you can do as a parent to make your child feel prepared for school. Hang a map of their future school so they can see how hallways connect. Put cubbies, or even better, metal lockers in their room or throughout the home so they can get used to classroom storage methods.
These are just a few ways to design your child’s room to make not only their home but the world more accessible to them. Have more ideas? Share in the comments below!