Advice for Expectant Parents With a Disability

IMG_9494by Guest Blogger Ashley Taylor (founder of DisabledParents.org)

Expecting a child is an exciting, life-changing experience, but it can also bring about questions and concerns, especially for first-time parents. These concerns may be even greater for parents-to-be living with a disability, who may be wondering how they can prepare themselves and their homes for parenthood.

The most important step is planning, and planning starts with questions like:

  • Is my home babyproofed?
  • Do we need to make changes to the home to make it babyproof?
  • Do we need to make changes to make it easier for us to parent?
  • What will I do when I feel stressed, overwhelmed, or need help?
  • Are there resources that can help parents with a disability?

Preparing your home can start with a checklist. Go through your home room by room to see what can be removed or added that would make parenting easier, such as adding a ramp to the nursery if necessary, widening doorways with adjustable hinges, and buying adaptable equipment and products like wheelchair-accessible cribs. There are also changing tables with adjustable heights.

Getting practical advice from other disabled parents is helpful, and look for support groups in your community that you can join. If there aren’t any in your area, online support groups are a great resource. There is nothing like getting advice from others with real-life experience to help you solve problems and make choices, from tips on how to breastfeed to how to deal with occasional bias.

HELP FOR THE HOME

If you need to make physical changes to your house or apartment, you may want to consult a home advisor experienced in making homes accessible. When evaluating each room, think about functionality and convenience.

Nursery. Does this room have carpet that may interfere with a wheelchair, walker, or crutches? Are tables and shelves low enough? Would it be more practical to have the baby in your bedroom instead of in his or her own room?

Laundry room. Are your washer and dryer front-loading for easy access? Do they have buttons and knobs that are easy to use?

Kitchen. Do you need to add a lower cabinet to store the baby’s formula, baby food, and other baby items? If visually impaired, do you need a talking timer, clock, or thermometer?

Security. Make sure your home is well lit, and you can always add baby monitors (video and/or audio) for peace of mind.

If preparing your home is a financial challenge, sometimes small grants or loans are available to parents with a disability, so check with your community’s disability service coordinator or explore online.

HELP FOR YOURSELF

While preparing to care for your child, don’t forget to care for yourself. Parenting can be stressful for anyone, so don’t feel that you’re the only one who gets overwhelmed with the day-to-day tasks of parenthood. Feeling stressed is normal, so it’s okay to ask for help.

Family and friends can be a great resource in times of stress. But if you don’t have this kind of support system in your life, there are community resources available, such as parenting classes, in-home parenting instruction, childcare, respite services, home-delivered meals/groceries, professional shoppers, daycare, babysitters, support groups, individual counseling, and group therapy.

Another way to care for yourself is to be mindful of your physical and mental health. What we eat affects how we think and feel. Exercise strengthens the body, gives you energy, releases feel-good chemicals in the brain, and can lower stress. A great way to de-stress is by taking up yoga or meditation. This will help you stay calm and focused during trying times.

Planning and preparation can make parenting easier and make you a stronger parent. If you need help assessing or preparing your home and your life for parenthood, a disability specialist is only a phone call away. Also, your baby will need you at your best, so don’t forget about self-care.

Ashley Taylor is a freelance writer, photographer, and advocate for people with disabilities. She created DisabledParents.org to provide information and resources to other parents with disabilities. When she isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.




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Holiday Safety Tips

The holidays are here! No matter how you celebrate or which holiday you celebrate, there are usually some kind of decorations involved that have to do with electricity. Please be safe this season, protect your family and your investment and please follow these tips featured by the Home Safety Council:

  • Look at each string of lights carefully. If any are cracked or damaged, buy new ones.
  • When you buy new lights, look at the box for a label that shows they have been tested for safety, such as ETL or UL.
  • Follow the directions on the box. It will tell you how many strings to use together. As a rule, UL recommends using no more than three standard-size sets of lights together.
  • Hang or mount light strands carefully to avoid damaging the cord’s insulation.
  • Do not plug in too many things at one time. Use a surge protector.
  • Unplug all holiday lights when you go to sleep or leave home.
  • Plug outdoor decorations into outlets protected by Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) to prevent shock.
  • Automatic lighting timers can be used to ensure that lights are not left on by mistake. These are available for both indoor and outdoor use.
  • Do not put electrical cords under rugs. Try to keep them away from places people walk.
  • When replacing a holiday bulb, be sure to use the correct bulb size (wattage) that is right for the fixture.
  • Use safety caps to keep children from putting things into electrical receptacles/outlets.

Happy Holidays from Kim SchreinerKim Schreiner, ePRO, SFR, Realtor
2011 Philadelphia Magazine 5 Star Real Estate Professional
Office: 215.992.1726
Cell: 215.510.2149

Ho Ho Holiday Safety Tips

The holidays are here! No matter how you celebrate or which holiday you celebrate, there are usually some kind of decorations involved that have to do with electricity. Please be safe this season, protect your family and your investment and please follow these tips featured by the Home Safety Council:

  • Look at each string of lights carefully. If any are cracked or damaged, buy new ones.
  • When you buy new lights, look at the box for a label that shows they have been tested for safety, such as ETL or UL.
  • Follow the directions on the box. It will tell you how many strings to use together. As a rule, UL recommends using no more than three standard-size sets of lights together.
  • Hang or mount light strands carefully to avoid damaging the cord’s insulation.
  • Do not plug in too many things at one time. Use a surge protector.
  • Unplug all holiday lights when you go to sleep or leave home.
  • Plug outdoor decorations into outlets protected by Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) to prevent shock.
  • Automatic lighting timers can be used to ensure that lights are not left on by mistake. These are available for both indoor and outdoor use.
  • Do not put electrical cords under rugs. Try to keep them away from places people walk.
  • When replacing a holiday bulb, be sure to use the correct bulb size (wattage) that is right for the fixture.
  • Use safety caps to keep children from putting things into electrical receptacles/outlets.

Happy Holidays from Kim SchreinerKim Schreiner, ePRO, SFR, Realtor
RE/MAX Affiliates, NE
The #1 RE/MAX Office in the City of Philadelphia
Office: 215.992.1726
Cell: 215.510.2149

Fall Home Maintenance Tips

Fall Maintenance Tips

Check the Heat! Have an HVAC contractor come out to inspect your heating system. Have your system cleaned so that it remains efficient. Don’t forget to change filters if you have them as suggested, once per month.

Invest in a programmable thermostat. You could save well over $100.00 annually just by keeping your temperature (in the winter) no higher than 70 degrees while awake and changing it to 62 degrees while you sleep.

Think about checking your roof before the cold weather comes and don’t forget to clean the fall leaves and debris from gutters and drains.

Caulk your doors and windows. Check window glazing putty (this seals the glass into the window frame).  Add weather stripping as needed around doors, garages, etc.

Divert water away from your home.  Add extensions to downspouts so water runs at least 3 to 4 feet away from the foundation. Drain and then turn off exterior faucets and/or turn off the shut-off valve inside your home.

Using a lawn irrigation system? Consider having it professionally drained to help avoid freezing and leaky pipes come spring.

Lastly, and most importantly …
Don’t forget to check the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

Kim Schreiner, ePRO, SFR, Realtor
RE/MAX Affiliates, NE
The #1 RE/MAX Office in the City of Philadelphia
Office: 215.992.1726
Cell: 215.510.2149