By Hazel Bridges

If you’re raising a child with a disability, you know that changing their routines is often a major undertaking. And if you need to move, you might be worried about how the process will affect them.

With help from a care coordination organization, you can navigate your move while prioritizing your child’s well-being. For example, if you live in Central or Southern New York and your child has been diagnosed with an intellectual or developmental disability (I/DD), Southern Tier Connect can put you in touch with services that will assist you throughout your move. Furthermore, these tips will help you plan for a smooth move.

Getting Prepared

It’s important to help your child understand what kind of changes are coming up. For instance, you may want to create visual aids, like calendars, to show your child what you will be doing on certain dates. You could include drawings or stickers showing activities like packing, driving, or decorating their new room. Depending on your child’s age, needs, and abilities, you can also have conversations about moving with them so that they can ask you questions.

Managing Your Finances

Buying a home designed for accessibility or investing in additional modifications can be expensive. That’s why it’s so important to focus heavily on saving money before you begin house hunting. You will need to ensure that you can cover your down payment and closing costs as well as future renovations.

The amount you’ll need to spend on your down payment will vary depending on the type of home loan you take out. While some lenders would want you to put down 20 percent of the home price for a down payment, others only require as little as 3.5 percent. If you are approved for a VA loan or USDA Rural Development loan, you won’t have to put any money down at all!

House Hunting

To find the right real estate agent, recommends asking your loved ones about reliable agents they have worked with in the past. By asking other homeowners who have family members with disabilities, you may be able to find an agent who has helped families find accessible homes before. As your agent schedules viewings, ask them to prioritize homes with features like one floor, wide doorways, and step-in showers.

Navigating Moving Day

Before moving day, call local moving companies to ask how they accommodate clients who have children with disabilities. To get ready for the big day, you’ll want to keep your child’s comfort objects in a special box so that they won’t lose track of them. Furthermore, you’ll need to organize any medical supplies or medications that they need.

Making Modifications

After purchasing a home, you may want to start working on key renovations right away. Hire a Helper states that you may need to install laminate flooring if your child uses a mobility aid, put in light dimmers if your child is sensitive to sensory stimulation, or set up a room to function as their “safe space” for when they feel overwhelmed. You will likely need to hire local contractors for these projects, so research companies with accessible home projects in their portfolios.

If your child has been diagnosed with an I/DD and qualifies for OPWDD services, you can use Medicaid funds to pay for home modifications. Some of the alterations you could consider include entryway ramps, accessible showers or walk-in bathtubs, bathroom grab bars, and widened doorways to accommodate wheelchairs and other mobility devices. Southern Tier Connect can help you take advantage of these benefits.

As the parent of a child with a disability, you want them to feel safe, comfortable, and happy throughout the moving process. While moving when you have a child with a disability does involve additional preparations, making the right preparations will help you keep your child from feeling stressed or anxious. With these tips, you can start making a moving plan today!


Photo: Little Girl Playing in a Box by Cottonbro via