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A special needs child requires a bedroom that’s both functional and a place of comfort. Their bedroom should be a place that’s practical, but also just as whimsical as any other child’s. It should be a fun, comfortable space, but also a space that caters to specific needs. A special needs child already faces many difficult challenges; their bedroom should be a welcome retreat from day to day difficulties.
Depending on your child’s condition, you’ll need to equip the special needs bedroom with accommodating features and hardware. For instance, if your child has difficulties with doorknobs, you’ll want to install levers instead. It’s also important to invite your child to share in the project. That way, he or she will feel like the room is truly theirs. It’s a space where they were invited to express themselves and share in the decision making.
Children with physical disabilities will require hardware that accommodates their disability. For example, if your child is in a wheelchair, you’ll want to install desks and shelving at a comfortable level. Visually impaired kids will benefit from sparse décor and wall-to-wall carpeting. Likewise, children with allergies will need carpeting removed. They’ll also benefit from an installed air purifier. All kids will appreciate light switches and other hardware installed at a height that’s reachable for them.
Give your child some options. For instance, you could invite them to help you search online for window blinds. There are sites that offer custom blinds that you can have tailored to match a specific room. Let your child play around with the color scheme and theme of the room. While they’re busy working on things like blinds and paint, you’ll have time to determine the safest possible place for flooring, lighting and shelving.
Decorating is the fun part! At this point, you’ve installed everything your child needs to exist comfortably in the space. Now it’s time to choose the bed and decorate the room. You and your child will enjoy choosing colors, decorations and the overall theme. Ginger Rodriguez, an interior designer focusing on special needs bedrooms, tells readers that the room should look and feel like a bedroom – not a hospital room.
Pick a bed that’s at an appropriate height for your child. If they have difficulty getting in and out of bed, you’ll want to choose something with bars or handles. Decorate the bed in a style the child likes, with hypoallergenic bedding if necessary. Rodriguez suggests keeping a mini-fridge as a bedside table, to store their medications or a snack. Children that are frequently confined to bed will appreciate having these items within reach.
If your child suffers from chronic pain or illness, Rodriguez suggests keeping a water fountain in the room. “Trickling water sound effect may help with pain management.” Also, great smelling candles and fragrance sprays may provide a calming effect. This doesn’t work for children suffering from chronic allergies who will require everything be hypoallergenic and non-scented.
Overall, the room’s décor should be both functional and fun. It’s important to really tap into what your child loves. If they’re aerial fanatics, add decorative planes to the space and paint a mural of clouds on the walls. If your little girl fancies herself a princess, go crazy with splashes of pink and jeweled crowns. Their bedroom should be a place of comfort and self-expression. Like all kids’ rooms, their bedrooms are where their imaginations come alive and identity is forged.