Designing a house that will be home to a child with a disability or special educational needs means that child has to be a fundamental part of the design and build process, from start to finish.
There are a number of simple yet critical factors that form the basis of an effective building design for a disabled child or one with SEN, and when these factors are implemented into the new home, an inclusive living environment will have been successfully created.
This article presents four of these factors:
Access - Providing an easily accessible route into – and out – your home is absolutely vital, particularly if the child is in a wheelchair. Suitable access also applies to the rest of the house, where the child has an easy and safe passage from room to room.
Space – A house with plenty of room is conducive to creating a safe and more enjoyable environment, particularly if the child requires a mobility aid, where easier access and storage is found. Ample space also facilitates any personal care and therapy.
Health & Well-Being – Creating a warm and well ventilated environment is, of course, a must for any household, but they are hugely important factors in helping the child settle into a comfortable and friendly environment.
Sensory Awareness – Designers should take into account the varying impact a living environment can have on a child’s sensory experience. For example, good acoustics is essential for people with sensory impairments and/or communication and interaction needs; and reduced levels of stimuli, such as avoiding sensory overload for a child with autism, will then provide a calming background.