Moving With Children With Disabilities: Tips and Advice for Easing Transitions

nkats, Feb 21, 2022

A smiling young child resting their head on their arms over the edge of a moving box.

Excitement and anticipation are a couple of common feelings new homeowners might experience after finalizing the purchase of their dream home. For some, that could be a lakeside home with a view. For those who have children with a disability, it may be a more accessible and accommodating home.

Throughout the moving process, you might begin to feel disorganized or short on time. It’s not uncommon to feel this way, and there are many resources available, like moving companies or assistance from your local real estate office.

However, there aren’t as many resources available for those moving with a child with a disability. Common challenges parents in this position may face include:

  • Frequently loading and unloading medical supplies like oxygen tanks, wheelchairs, and feeding tubes;
  • The inability to find accessible parking when loading and unloading;
  • The possibility of exposing your child to sensory overload.

Throughout the rest of this article, you will find helpful tips intended to help those moving with children with disabilities — everything from what to consider before the move and how to settle in once it’s complete.

Preparing for the Move

Each step of the moving process requires participation, communication, and organization from all parties involved, starting before the move. Aside from locating the basic amenities that you and your child will need throughout the move (like medical supplies, snacks, water, and entertainment), you should also take a moment to create a rough timeline of when you’d like things accomplished. Remember, the more organized you can be during the move, the better.

Let’s take a look at a few other tips to consider while you’re preparing to move.

Visit the Neighborhood Ahead of Time

Whether it’s lakeside or in the suburbs, by this point, you’re well aware of the location of your home but you may not have had the chance to explore the area to the fullest extent. If your schedule allows, take a moment to visit your new neighborhood before you begin to move.

In doing so you’re able to scope out the area for the most accessible routes for your child and the best routes to move your belongings. It also gives you another opportunity to familiarize yourself and the family with the area.

Additionally, you’ll be able to locate the nearest businesses, parks, shopping centers, bodies of water, restaurants, surrounding neighborhoods, and other things to do with every visit. Contact your realtor or visit their blog to get a better idea of the best things to do in your new area.

Establish Medical Care ASAP

Establishing a new medical provider right away is important regardless of your or your child’s physical and mental abilities. It’s even more important when certain medical needs must be tended to at almost all times.

Here are a few things to consider when choosing a new medical provider:

  • Determine which doctors are “in-network”;
  • Find a doctor with expertise that meets your and your child’s health needs (both mental and physical);
  • Ask around for referrals from people you trust in the area, including your realtor;
  • Consider the location of the offices. If you have a lot of medical equipment to move, you may consider finding a location that is closer to home or that provides in-home care;
  • As you would with a new neighborhood, take the time to visit potential doctor’s offices ahead of time.

The sooner you’re able to establish medical care, the sooner you’re able to cross off that stressful item from your moving to-do list. You may even consider doing this as soon as you finalize the purchase of your new home.

Research Schools in the Area

Not only do you want to find a school that meets your expectations in terms of ratings and curriculum, but you’ll also want to find one that creates a smooth IEP/IFSP transfer process.

According to Understood, an individualized education plan (IEP) “Lays out the special education instruction, supports, and services a student needs to thrive in school.” An individualized family service plan (IFSP) is “provided if your child is found eligible for early intervention services.”

You can contact the prospective school to get information on how to set up an IEP and/or IFSP for your child.

Find Local Support Groups

A local support group can be anything from a group of parents that also care for children with disabilities or a group for your child to help form social connections. Either way, take the time to research local groups full of like-minded individuals who can help.

There are many benefits to joining a support group including but not limited to:

  • Feeling less lonely;
  • Creating social connections with people who understand what you or your child is going through.

To find a support group, you can research what it is you’re wanting support for. From there, read reviews and group descriptions to help narrow in on a group or groups that would best fit your needs.

During the Move

Creating a plan for the move ahead of time is helpful, however, there is a chance it may not be followed. Try not to stress anymore if you find yourself straying away from the timeline. Instead, take the below into consideration to help get you back on track during the move.

Be Strategic About the Packing Process

While it may be easier said than done, being strategic about what items you pack in which boxes and how you load them in the truck will pay off in the long run. This is because the more organized you are when packing your belongings, the easier it will be unpacking — streamlining the process right along.

Keep medical items and other necessities in a box that is easily accessible at all times. Be sure to label it in bold writing so that you and others know not to pack that box away. This can help relieve the stress of not being prepared in case of a medical emergency.

If you hired a moving company, it’s important to inform them of any boxes that may contain fragile items that could break if not handled properly. This includes everything from fine china to medical equipment. Take note of everything that is in each box to ensure it is all there when you’re unpacking, even if you don’t have movers.

Tips for Accommodating and Assisting Children With Mobility Disorders

Moving with a child who has a mobility disorder creates a different set of challenges that others aren’t faced with. Not only do you have to consider your every move, but you also have to be mindful of your child’s as well.

Here are a few examples of assistive devices, smart technologies, and home renovations to consider that may help ease the move and your adjustment to your new home:

  • Install low shelves along the bottom of the wall instead of high ones;
  • Replace traditional door knobs with levers;
  • Move light switches to a lower level;
  • Install multiple levels of railings;
  • Invest in a home smart system like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant;
  • Widen the hallways and/or remove walls if possible to create more space.

Making some of the above modifications is also a great way to increase your home’s value if you ever wish to sell.

Tips for Accommodating and Assisting Children With Developmental Disorders

The accommodations you’ll need to make to help your child with a developmental disability adjust to your new home will vary based on their needs. For instance, some children may require an instant, hands-on familiarization process. While others may need more time to slowly acclimate to their surroundings.

Regardless, some children with an intellectual disability may need more time to adjust to their surroundings. Here are a few tips to consider to help your child adjust to a change in their routine:

  • Continuously remind them of the changes as their being made by making them a part of the process, involving them when able;
  • Make them feel included in the decision-making process;
  • Refrain from having visitors until your child is fully acclimated;
  • Slowly introduce new people or things into the home;
  • Turn the move into a fun bedtime story that they can relate to;
  • Give your child a copy of the timeline so they know what to expect and when;
  • Plan for extra time for meltdowns or brain breaks.

The tips above are also useful when moving with children in general — developmental disability or not.

Remember Standard Moving Tips and Safety Protocols

The above advice is helpful but it’s also important to follow the basic moving tips and safety protocols, like:

  • Using appropriately sized boxes;
  • Packing the heavier boxes on the bottom and the lighter ones on the top;
  • Wearing proper clothing like closed-toed shoes and gloves;
  • Labeling the contents in each box;
  • Ensuring the boxes are well-taped;
  • Leaving out the essential boxes for easy access;
  • Wrapping your breakables.

It can be easy to want to make up time and move at a faster rate when you’re moving. However, this isn’t always the safest route. Always be sure to follow basic moving protocols to ensure the safety of you, your family, and your belongings.

After the Move

Now that the move is complete, it’s time to take the next steps towards making your house a home. Listed below are tips to consider after the move.

Adjusting Your Child to the Area

By this point, you’ve probably explored the neighborhood a time or two yourself but now it’s time to venture out as a family. Knowing that new areas can be overwhelming for your child can deter you from wanting to introduce them to new things.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that how they’re feeling in that moment isn’t always going to be how they feel.

When helping your kids adjust to your new home and area you should:

  • Try and establish a new daily routine right away, keeping the basic activities at the same time you did at the old house. For example, if you ate dinner at 6 o’clock every night at your old house, try and eat at 6 o’clock every night in the new house;
  • Explore your new community together;
  • Help them claim their space and make it special;
  • Encourage them to get involved in extracurriculars;
  • Familiarize them with their new teacher and school;
  • Let them help you set up their new room in whatever way they’re able;
  • Introduce them to your neighbors to help create familiar faces.

Remember, like with most things new, it’ll take time before they feel more at home.

Settling Into Your New Home

Listed below are a few additional things to consider to help you settle into the place you now call home:

  • Update your records with your new address;
  • Store important documents in a hidden, safe location;
  • Help adjust your pets to your new home as well;
  • Review homeowners association (HOA) rules (if any).

Most importantly, take a moment to relax as a family and embrace this new beginning together. Buying and moving into a new home is stressful. As long as you have the right people beside you  and trust in your process, it will be rewarding in the end.

Categories Other
About the Author

Last updated: 03/09/2022

2100+ Client reviews!

Bramlett Residential, and more importantly Joe Gage were amazing at helping my wife and I buy our very first home. Bramlett & Joe made the whole process stress free, and really helped expedite the process for us. We had no idea we would find exactly what we were looking for so quickly! Joe was very knowledgable on numerous things such as market strategy, what things to look for while touring homes, and he quickly understood exactly what type of home my wife and I were looking for. He was also in constant communication with us throughout the whole process which helped us feel very comfortable in a situation that could have been stressful. I will confidently recommend Bramlett & Joe Gage to anyone in the Austin area going forward!

 

We worked with Crystal Hirst and she did an amazing job. She went above and beyond to make sure that we found the right property for us. Our search initially was all over the place and we didn’t even know what kind of property we wanted. Nonetheless, Crystal was incredibly helpful and patient while working with us to find our home. Crystal would point out all the pros and cons for any place that we would consider and we felt we could trust her. As first-time homebuyers we felt this was important because we did not know what red flags to look for in a property. Additionally, she was communicative and extremely responsive throughout the entire process. We were very satisfied with Crystal and would recommend her to anyone with no reservations whatsoever.

 

It was a pleasure working with Shaun, he is a very pro-active person and move things fast, communication was assertive and clear. As a first time buyer I could not have been in better hands and would recommend him a hundred percent.

 

Jan was wonderful to work with!  Bringing a toddler while house-hunting can be a nightmare, but Jan made it fun for all of us.  It felt more like exploring the area with family.  We didn’t feel any rush or pressure to buy, and we knew Jan had our best interests in mind.  She was always friendly, but when it came time to negotiate, she fought hard to get us the best deal.  I would highly recommend working with Jan whether you are buying or selling.  If we ever move, we’ll definitely be asking for Jan again.

Jan is fantastic!  We moved from out of town, and she was great about showing us around and researching schools and home-builders for us so we could make the right choice.  Jan showed us both rentals and new builds in a rainy, single-day house-hunting trip, and, despite the weather, her enthusiasm never wavered.  We have been in Leander for two years now, and Jan still keeps in touch and serves as a source for local info!  If we ever move again, she’ll be our first call!

Because we were first-time home-buyers, Jan was the wind beneath our wings while we worked with her.  She listened to what we wanted and made sure that we weren’t getting into something that would damage us in the long run.  She was passionate, caring, and very knowledgeable.  We were from out of town, and she taught us a lot about the area and gave us some insider knowledge that helped lead us to a great home.  She gave us advice for the future when we might become serious about homes, and she prepared us not just for purchasing our home but also for potentially reselling it years down the line.  Working with Jan was easy and enjoyable; she was on our side from day one.  She went above and beyond my wildest expectations and really raised the bar for realtors in my eyes.

Jan Daum is a realtor with panache!!!  When you sign up with her to sell your house, you can rest assured she will get it done fast, at the best possible price, and with all the tools in her toolbox put to use.  I’d no sooner signed on the dotted line than Jan showed up with a stager and a photographer.  My home went online with a very classy display and sold over asking in less than a week, and with multiple offers!  Jan did not even get a chance to hold the planned open house.  Jan was with me every step of the way and kept in touch constantly.  I would recommend Jan Daum as a realtor for any property and at any price point.  You will not be disappointed with the service or the results.

Corrine was a dream to work with. She kept us up to date and was transparent with us through our house hunting experience. She connected us with great people to work with to get our place to close quick and easy. Will definitely recommend her and was a great pleasure working with!

 

We had the pleasure of working with Elken Miller and we loved our experience working with her. She is knowledgeable in her filed and will give you her honest opinion and she held our hand the entire process and we bought in 2021 which was a very competitive market at the time and she was absolutely awesome in helping us secure the house we wanted!
She is warm and always returns your calls and is on top of things you may not have even thought of. I highly recommend Elken Miller!

 

I started working with Elken summer of 2020. I had just moved to Austin and had no idea where to start looking given my tight budget and all the bidding wars happening. Elken helped me navigate that process every step of the way with ease. She was able to find me a new built in Elgin that fit perfectly with my needs. She is incredibly knowledgeable in the housing market, has great business acumen and is very resourceful. Elken also assisted me in negotiating with builder, lenders, and third parties (e.g. alternative “buy before you sell” type of lender, etc.) and did not stop until I got a great deal. In addition, she is thorough and proactive ensuring that all your questions are answered and that your expectations are met. Lastly, she is friendly and kind and never ceased to go above and beyond for me during my home buying journey. I will absolutely work with Elken again whenever I am ready to find a new place.

 

We enjoyed working with Elken at Bramlett Residential Real Estate for buying our first home. She’s detail oriented, help us address concerns, and always willing to answer questions that we have along the way. Highly recommended and we would definitely work with Elken again when an opportunity comes in the future.

 

As first time home buyers and new to the area, Elken Miller was a true blessing. Elken went above and beyond to search for a perfect home for our growing family, before the baby’s arrival. She listened to our needs, wants and stayed within our budget. She walked us through each step and treated us like family. We are now first time home buyers of a brand new build, in a beautiful area with a large backyard where we can create memories with our baby! Elken is professional, knowledgeable, caring and will not give up on what you’re searching for until she finds it. She’s the best and we truly thank her for everything.