Children with disabilities often have additional accommodation needs and require adaptations to be able to remain living at home. 

Home should be every child’s safe haven. A place where they can learn, play, and feel comfortable. Being happy at home is also key to recuperation and recovery. For families caring for disabled children, creating a home that is functional, safe and child-centred can pose a challenge.  

Accessible home design for children is possible. Read on for everything you need to know about creating accessible, engaging home spaces for children with disabilities. 

Adapting Based On Your Needs

Personalised accessible home design for children will be guided by a child’s specific conditions, disabilities and preferences. 

There are different types of disabilities, such as auditory, visual, mobility and sensory, and each will require unique changes. 

After an in-depth assessment involving referral concerns and interviews with caregivers or parents and the child, an occupational therapist will help you identify what alterations need to be made in your home.

Making Space Safe

One of the top priorities for families of children with disabilities is to make the home safe. A typical family home can present obstacles and challenges, meaning, even moving around the space is dangerous. 

Changing aspects of the home by adapting it can enhance home safety and enable children to roam freely without fear. 

Here are some great adaptations that can reduce risks for disabled children in the home.

Lowered Sinks

Can your child reach the sink to wash their hands or help in the kitchen? Especially for wheelchair users, conventional sinks and basins can be completely inaccessible.

Wider Doorways

Many UK homes aren’t set up for disability and that includes doorways. Widening doorways, so that wheelchairs and other specialist equipment can fit through, improves accessible home design for children. 

Grab Rails

Grab rails can be easily installed for people of all ages to hold onto for support, and that includes children. Positioning rails next to toilets and sinks, in the shower and around the home enables children and young people who aren’t steady on their feet to find respite when standing for long periods. 


For many children with additional needs, climbing steps and stairs is impossible. 

A ramp may be required to gain entry to a home whose threshold sits above ground level. Several different types offer varying access solutions, spanning from temporary ramps that are simple to remove to the more permanent feature of a concrete ramp. Read all about ramps here


Not being able to use the stairs prevents children from moving around the home as they wish. Not very accessible! Home design for children that gives them the freedom they deserve can include the installation of a stairlift to help with this.

Stairlifts transport users between floors of the house via a rail fitted onto the staircase or the adjacent wall. Children may require support to operate the stairlift, but it can be an important piece of kit for families and carers who will otherwise need to carry them. (This can be increasingly important as they grow!)


Hoists can improve safety for both parent/carer and child when manoeuvring around the home. You might need a hoist when moving a child or young person puts too much stress on either their body or yours or if there is a risk of harm. 

Accessible home design for children, like the addition of hoists, helps keep the child safe and comfortable. 


Remodelling an existing bathroom into a wetroom makes bathing and personal care tasks significantly easier for everyone involved. This is because wetrooms are completely waterproof, have no trip hazards like shower trays or tricky obstacles to navigate, like bathtubs, and provide enough space for as much assistance as is needed. 

Installing a handheld shower head gives you and the child more control over the flow and temperature of the water. For sensory-sensitive children, warm, low lighting and warm air temperatures can also reduce the potential stress of bathing. 

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Shower Or Bath Seats

Depending on the age and ability of the child, adding a shower or bath seat can provide somewhere to rest during the bathing process. These can be folded away for easy storage. 

Specialist Toilets

Freestanding, lowered or raised toilets can be easier to use for children with disabilities, depending on their individual needs. And remember to take your future needs into account, too – it will get harder to lift them as they age! 

Closomat Accessible WC

One type of specialist toilet worth mentioning is the washer-dryer toilet. The Closomat Palma Vita is one brand that we stock at the John Ford Group.

The Palma Vita is wall-hung, meaning it can be positioned at a height unique to the user and allows users to safely and comfortably toilet without the need for fiddly toilet paper. This type of toilet can be especially beneficial for older children as they grow into puberty and beyond.


Rounded Corners

Children with disabilities who might be unsteady on their feet or unaware of their surroundings are more likely to trip, fall, or bump into furniture when they’re moving about the house. 

Rounding off corners of worktops and other pieces of furniture reduces the risk of serious injury and improves accessible home design for children. 

Non-Slip Flooring

Eliminating slippery flooring in the home might be laborious, but it keeps children with disabilities safe from avoidable accidents.

Window Secure Locks

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, 4,000 children under the age of 15 years fall out of a window in the United Kingdom every year.

Window restrictors or safety locks prevent windows from opening to their maximum limit whilst allowing fresh air to circulate.

Creating A Fun and Engaging Home

Many disabled children spend more time at home than other children, and that means that the home needs to be fun and engaging as well as safe. Here are some ways you can enhance accessible home design for children to inspire enjoyment. 

Sensory Area

Sensory play is incredibly important for children. It promotes the development of language and motor skills, supports proprioceptive and vestibular input and helps children understand the world around them through problem-solving. 

If your property has sufficient space, setting up a sensory room or corner is a fantastic way of creating a calming, engaging zone they can explore and relax in. 

Here are some ideas for a sensorily accessible home design for children…

  • Bubble lamps and soothing lights can provide visual stimulation.
  • Textured resources like beads, trays and natural materials can aid sensory development and encourage creativity.
  • Soft cushions, toys and weighted blankets provide comfort and calm minds and nervous systems.
  • Rocking chairs and indoor swings build vestibular senses and motor skills.
  • Specialist spinning toys, where able children can sit and spin to their heart’s desire, help with posture control, enhance sensory stimulation in balance and help children gain body awareness. 


A child’s bedroom is their own space, but in many homes, they may need to share it with a sibling. Finding a way of dividing the room or creating zones for each child will help give each a sense of independence and autonomy. 

Depending on the child and their unique needs, a lovely way of enhancing a bedroom is to use a mid or high-sleeper bed and turn the underneath space into a private area. Think curtains, fairy lights, cushions and all of their favourite things. 

Remember, accessible home design for children can be as simple as minimising trip hazards. Consider removing rugs, securing electrical cords and ensuring the room is kept tidy at all times. 

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Living Room

The lounge or living room should be a shared space suitable for the whole family. It’s a place where all members can come together and spend time together outside of work and school.

Creating more space between furniture items provides safe passage for disabled children navigating the room, and introducing motorised blinds means all members of the family can easily operate them using a remote or smartphone app.

Another adaptation to consider when planning an accessible home design for children is a voice-controlled television. Being able to operate the TV with voice commands removes the need to leave your seat or hunt under cushions for the remote, actions which could strain the bodies of children with limited mobility. 


Properties with outside spaces have an amazing resource to utilise, but first, you’ve got to make sure it’s safe. That means levelling it off where possible, providing grab rails and ramps for extra accessibility and erecting a pergola, awning or tipi tent for much-needed shade.

Creating a space dedicated to water play can be hugely valuable because it offers experiences that help develop sensory processing and self-regulation skills. Adding play structures and accessible swings may be suitable for more able children.

The terrain is also an important factor when enhancing the garden. Natural grass is hard to wheel over, and decking can be extremely slippery, but patios are easier for wheelchairs, and artificial grass provides that kick of greenery without the maintenance of endless mowing. 


Tech can help to make the home safe and fun. 

Smart home devices, like the Amazon Echo, offer a simple way to talk to people in other rooms, play games and video call friends. Alexa, Amazon’s voice service, when enabled on devices like Kindles and other smart devices with Alexa installed, can even read content from the Kindle, enabling children to access books and stories whenever they choose.

Using the equipment associated with computers can be a challenge, but accessible computer aids like adaptive keyboards and braille displays make the process easier and enjoyable. Pair these with a set of smart lights that can be easily controlled using a remote or smartphone app, and you’ve got a flexible setup that is perfect for any young person. 

Hydrotherapy Pools

What accessible home design for children looks like for each family heavily depends on the child’s individual needs. Some families may only require a few changes, and for others, major adaptations will be needed.

Some families choose to add a home hydrotherapy pool to their property so that they can access physical therapy as and when they would like. Pools are also great for recreational use, especially if they are big enough for the whole family. 

Not sure if a hydro pool is for you? Read more about them here


Meet Your Child’s Needs With Home Adaptations

Making a home safe for your child without removing the fun is a process that requires time and effort, but with the right support, you can do it.

Searching for a reputable home adaptations company with extensive experience in accessible home design for children? Look no further. Visit our website to learn more about us.