Preparing for a Major Move With a Child With Disabilities

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Moving is stressful under any circumstance, but if you have a child under your care who’s differently abled, the stress can be compounded. There’s a lot more preparation and work that goes into ensuring a smooth move with your child. It’s even more important to keep track of everything and sequence your relocation in a thoughtful way.

Children are already sensitive to change, and for a child with disabilities, change can be even more difficult, especially if it’s your first time moving. Even with the same belongings, a new place can feel scary at first. Moving cross-country for a job might feel impossible right now, but with help and preparation, you’ll be able to make your child feel comfortable in no time. Here are a few tips that will aid you in a major move with a child who is differently abled.

Create a bond with a new doctor beforehand.

Your child’s health is of the utmost importance to you. Due to how frequently your child has to interface with medical professionals, your child may be hesitant about leaving a doctor with whom he or she has a strong relationship. Doctors have to get up close to children with disabilities, so trust is extremely valuable and important.

Once you’ve figured out the city you’ll be moving to, it’s a good idea to take the time to find an office that specializes in helping children just like yours. For example, if your child has hearing loss or is deaf, finding a location with pediatric audiology that’s a convenient drive from your home is a necessity. It may even help you determine what neighborhoods you should be buying in if you’re not familiar with the area.

Before making the big move, schedule an appointment, so your child can get familiar with the new pediatric audiologist or whatever specialist they’ll be seeing. That way, you can ensure that you like the doctor and that your child is starting to get comfortable with the idea of seeing this new person for their important check-ins. This step is important even with newborns, so you can feel confident about the switch.

Work with a realtor from the start.

If you’re moving to a new area, contacting a real estate agent from the beginning can reduce your stress. You may have specific needs from your new home, like a ramp for your child’s wheelchair or a one-level ranch style house for easy mobility. With an agent, you won’t waste your time on websites looking for homes that aren’t going to work or that will get snapped off the market before you can make an offer. If your agent finds a place they think will work for you, your child, and your finances, they’ll be able to check the place out first and send pictures.

Your agent can sometimes see listings before they’re public, which means you can put an offer and down payment on a perfect home purchase and potentially avoid a bidding war. Overall, working with a realtor is a great idea because they can provide you with mortgage payment calculators and a checklist for first-home buyers, so you’re making an informed purchase and understand the paperwork that’s in store.

Make the move a positive experience.

No matter how much anxiety you’re feeling about the move, it’s best to stay calm for your child. Children often take social cues off their parents in order for them to process experiences. If you act upset about leaving, they’re more likely to be upset. However, if you make the move an exciting adventure and use positive reinforcement, they’re more likely to make an easier transition. Your family members and friends can help you out with this by watching your child during stressful moments, so they’re not overstimulated. It’s also helpful to give your son or daughter something to commemorate the move.

Bribery is usually frowned upon in regard to child-rearing, but there are some small gift ideas that are perfect for the occasion that will help your child feel more confident about the move. For example, one gift idea is that you can give them a “moving buddy.” A stuffed animal can act as a new friend and confidant in a different environment.

Prep the new house before relocating your child.

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Your best option for moving with a child who’s differently abled is to prepare the space as much as possible before moving in. Make sure any medical equipment you need will already be there, so you don’t have to run around trying to find what box it’s in. If your child is younger, get the shelves put up that display their favorite possessions, and have their bedroom fully prepared, so their first impression of their private space is positive. If you need to downsize their toys, instead of throwing them out, which might cause your child stress during a time of change, try using a self-storage unit until they’re feeling a little more comfortable letting go of old items.

Your life understandably revolves around your child. Even if your child is differently abled, there are still ways to make a big move. By finding your child’s new doctor, working with a realtor, and keeping the situation positive, you and your child are sure to have a great move.

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