Adapt your home
If you are struggling to get around your home due to:
- a disability
- long-term illness
- visual impairment
- old age
We may be able to help with equipment and adaptations to your home to make it easier and safer to live independently or for a carer to look after you.
Apply for equipment and adaptations
Plymouth City Council works in partnership with Livewell Southwest to find the best solution to meet your needs. To find out if you could benefit from equipment or adaptations contact Livewell Southwest (for adults) or The Gateway (for children) on 01752 668000 for an assessment by an occupational therapist.
The assessment and some minor alterations are free. If major adaptations are needed which aren't funded, you may be eligible for a disabled facility grant to help with costs.
If your home can't be adapted
If your home can't be adapted due to structure, layout or cost, you may be able to move to a more suitable property.
A moving-on grant up to a maximum of £30,000 could be offered to assist with the cost of moving. If you don't receive a low income benefit, you'll be assessed to see if you've got to contribute towards the cost of the work.
The grant could cover:
- Legal expenses
- Removal costs
- Estate agent fees
For more information please email email@example.com or call 01752 307303.
Moving around your home
Having a child with mobility challenges requires making adjustments to your living space. What types of modifications can help transform your home into an environment where your child can thrive?
Install ramps and lifts
Ramps allow wheelchair users to safely access entryways and transition between levels. Ramps promote inclusion and enable independent mobility around the home.
Platform/wheelchair lifts are a space-saving option for accessing upper levels of the home. These lifts allow wheelchair users to access bedrooms, bathrooms and other important living spaces.
Widen hallways and doorways
- Removing thresholds and expanding tight spaces creates accessible routes for navigation.
- Widened doorways prevent injuries from bumping into walls and allow for easy manoeuvring.
- Recommended minimum hallway and doorway widths:
- Hallways: 36 inches
- Bathroom doors: 32 inches
- Interior doors: 32 inches
Create an accessible bathroom
- Lowered sinks, counters and toilets increase accessibility for wheelchair users.
- Roll-in showers allow for safe and independent bathing and toileting.
- Non-slip bathroom floors help prevent falls and injuries.
- Sufficient space is needed for turning a wheelchair in the bathroom.
Keeping your child safe at home
When you have a child with special needs or disabilities, home safety takes on an even greater importance. What are some key ways to keep your child safe and prevent injuries?
Use safety locks and guards
- Install child safety locks on cabinets, drawers, and appliances.
- Use window guards and door knob covers.
- Cover sharp table and furniture corners with cushions or padding.
Always supervise your child during bath time. Use non-slip mats and safety rails. Consider a plastic-backed bath mat for sensory stimulation.
- Keep small objects and choking hazards out of reach.
- Secure TVs, bookshelves, and furniture to walls to prevent tipping.
- Check for loose cords, outlets, or small parts that could be mouthed or pulled on.
Conduct daily safety checks and remain vigilant about potential hazards in each room.
Adapt the environment
- Use soft lighting and calming colours to prevent over-stimulation.
- Minimise clutter to clear pathways and prevent tripping.
- Install textured surfaces and grab bars in bathrooms.
- Place fidget toys and weighted blankets in safe locations for sensory regulation.
Consult an occupational therapist to customise safety based on your child's needs.
Helping your child feel calm at home
Many children with special needs are sensitive to sensory stimuli and can feel overwhelmed by their environment. Here are some tips to help your child feel more relaxed and peaceful at home:
Use soothing lighting
- Install dimmer switches to control brightness.
- Use natural light when possible.
- Avoid fluorescent overhead lighting which can be harsh.
- Soft glow lights, salt lamps, or fairy lights create a calming ambience.
- Close doors/windows to reduce outside sounds.
- Place rugs and curtains to absorb echo and reverb.
- White noise or nature sounds can be soothing.
- Provide noise-cancelling headphones to block unwanted sound.
Choose calming colours
- Cool tones like blue, green and lavender are recommended.
- Avoid over-stimulating patterns; use solid, muted colours.
- Incorporate neutral walls, carpets and furniture.
- Add calming accents like coloured glass or vases of flowers.
Getting organised at home
Creating structure through organisation strategies is beneficial for children with special needs. An organised environment reduces clutter, provides stability, and helps build key skills.
Use labels and visuals
- Label bins, baskets, and storage containers with words/pictures.
- Post pictorial daily schedules and calendars.
- Use colour coding to designate specific activity zones.
Designate activity spaces
- Define areas for reading, arts & crafts, imaginative play, etc.
- Use rugs, shelves or furniture to create clear boundaries.
- Store related toys/supplies together in each zone.
Establish consistent routines
- Follow regular schedules for meals, play, therapies.
- Use timers, signals or songs to transition between activities.
- Checklists and repetition builds familiarity and independence.
Plymouth's Local Offer is organised into four main categories covering the following age ranges:
- Early years (0 to 5 years old)
- Primary (5 to 11 years old)
- Secondary (11 to 18 years old)
- Preparing for adulthood
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