Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Home, Accessible Home

The other day, Justin showed me a page in the newspaper highlighting a house for sale. I wasn't really that interested in looking at it, but then he told me that the house was custom built for a family that had a child with special needs, so it was completely wheelchair accessible. The pictures in the paper looked really nice, so we went online to look at the listing. That was when we saw the price. Out of our price range. WAY out of our price range. We're talking almost three times what we paid for our house two and a half years ago. It was disappointing, but also a little expected. The house was large, new, and on a huge plot of land.

We bought our current house when Ian was a little over a year old, and it took us forever to find because we were really specific with what we wanted and needed. The house had to be one-story and we wanted hardwood floors to make it easier for Ian when he got a walker, wheelchair, or whatever mobility assistance he would need. Now that we're here and Ian has a wheelchair, we're finding that our house leaves a lot to be desired in the way of accessibility. All of the entrances have at least two steps to enter, making it impossible for Ian to get into or out of the house himself with his wheelchair. This problem has an easy fix because we can build a ramp for him. The problem that will be more pressing in the coming years is the bathroom. Besides having a counter, sink, and a tub/shower that will not be accessible to him, it is long and narrow. Even if he could get into the room with his wheelchair, he wouldn't be able to turn around to leave, or be able to open any of the cupboards or drawers while being in there. While this isn't a big deal now since he isn't toilet trained, it is something that will eventually need to be addressed as he grows. And not only will he grow, but his wheelchairs will also continue to grow, so the space problem will only get worse over time.

It has always been our dream to build our own house, but since we've had Ian the dream has changed to include a house that is totally accessible for him. Hopefully we can make it happen before he turns 18!

I'd love to hear about other's experiences with building and/or buying a handicap accessible house!

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