When you learn your child has a disability, you are hit with a flood of emotions ranging from fear to guilt to sadness. In addition to the changes you will go through, with some disabilities your physical environment, especially your home, will go through a period of change too. This is most definitely true with visual impairments.
Adapting your home to meet the needs of your visually impaired child is an important step in the process of preparing your child for life as an independent adult. Family Connect offers these tips for helping your visually impaired child develop and grow by making simple changes to your home environment.
Lighting and Color
According to Family Connect, if your child has some usable vision you can help her by adjusting the lighting, glare, and color in your home. Adjustable window treatments will help a child that is bothered by too much light, and additional lighting in key areas of the home will help children who benefit from extra light. It is a good idea to eliminate glare from major home surfaces such as tables and televisions. Appropriate window treatments that can open from either the top or the bottom can help, and dark placements can reduce the glare on tables. For children with a preference for a certain color, try using that color to her benefit by coding her belongings with it. This will help her to pick out items that are hers such as her toothbrush.
Texture and Touch
Learning to use her sense of touch can be a great benefit to the child with visually impairments. Tactile labels on cabinets where her favorite foods are kept will help her locate them, while a rubber band placed around her toothbrush will allow her to tell the difference between hers and everyone else’s. Texturizing objects like this will help her independence and self-esteem flourish.
Organization and Safety
It is important to ensure that your home is a safe place for your visually impaired child. This means organizing your home and your belongings well. Keep room and closet doors closed or ensure they are permanently propped open. Avoid clutter by making sure everyone in the family puts away anything they aren’t using. Keep items off the floor. Childproofing your cabinets will also help to keep your child safe.
Additional tips are available from Family Connect.