9 Tips to Create a Bathroom that is Friendly for a Special Needs Child
The Correct Bathroom Design
Your first step of the process for a bathroom design for your child is to think about what limitation they have if the layout will benefit storage space, ease-of-access and whether accessories like handrails and grab bars would comfortably fit into the space allocated for the bathroom.
Here are a few tips on various ways you are able to induce independence into the bathroom space while ensuring the child feels comfortable within this environment.
1. Ensure You Have Push and Pull Water Taps
Many kids do not have enough strength or coordination to turn or press soap containers, bottles and water taps, which is why it becomes necessary to use fittings and products that are easier to operate. Pull-and-push tap levers work better than the levers that turn tightly and this same push/pull system are normally used in luxury kitchens. In the way of ensuring an easier access you provide opportunities for learning and independence.
2. Keep Your Child Safe
Bathrooms are usually the spaces where most families store their medications. Make sure you are thinking about your child’s safety when you install a new medicine cabinet, making sure you are able to either ensure it is child-proof or you are able to lock it. The cabinet should also be installed high enough that your child cannot reach it.
3. Install Grab Bars
The grab bars should be installed on each side of your bathtub to offer support when it comes to bending and standing. Dependent on the mobility of the child, you may want to install grab bars close to your toilet. With grab bars you offer your child with an opportunity to start practicing getting out of or into the bath while offering the support that they need.
4. Get Non-Slip Mats
Bathrooms can become extremely slippery, especially when there is water involved, which is why it is so important that your children are secure and stable in the shower or bath area. Non-slip mats are an important product for kids and parents. These mats offer stability along with decreasing excess water that can result in injuries. An option that is more expensive involves applying an anti-slip coating to your bathroom and shower floor.
5. Provide a Walk-In Bath
The walk-in bath is one of the best options, as it allows easy access for children and adults that have mobility issues. The walk-in bath features a door along with a seat for your child to sit on. It offers an easier way to bath and is also the ideal option for a carer or parent who has to lift the child.
6. Lower the Sink Level
If needed you may want to consider installing an additional water basin which should be lowered to the height of the child, with tap levers that are easy to reach.
7. Take Sensitive Senses into Consideration
If you have a child with autism, it is important that the bathroom is child-friendly. Think about the child’s sensory sensitivity and then incorporate this into the bathroom space. For example, if your kid has a toy that is his or her favourite, try find bath toys that are similar which will simulate creativity and imagination.
8. Make a Bathroom Social Story
Creating a social story or visual list for brushing teeth, flushing the toilet, taking a bath or shower or washing hands can be extremely helpful when it comes to implementing independence when using the bathroom. Make the lists as a part of your bathroom in the way of hanging these up in a place that is easy to see.
9. Select Bathroom Colours
You may want to consider painting the bathroom walls in one or more bright colours which will stimulate the mind of your child. Research suggests that there are correlations between human emotions and colours. The right colours can increase cognitive awareness along with allowing for a more enjoyable experiences when using the bathroom. Shades of white and blue can create an awakening and fresh feeling. Avoid the colour red which is believed to bring about feelings of anger or aggression.
Even though there is a significant amount of preparation and planning involved, this type of change provides a way for the child to feel safe and relaxed in their environment while allowing a way for them to feel independent and to learn.