Household Cleaners May Cause Behavioral Changes in Disabled Children

Behavioral complications are common among disabled children or children with special needs. In many cases, the behavioral complications are associated with an intellectual disability or a mental health complication that is well managed with medication and therapy. In some families, however, the development of behavioral complications in a special needs child comes without warning and can be attributed to, in part, the environment.
The environment in which your child lives can pose some degree of health risk, especially if your child lives with a disability. In fact, even your everyday household cleaning products and pesticides may be to blame. Because toxic chemicals are commonly found the home, they may play some key roles in the behavior and function of a child with special needs.

Everyday Chemicals May Affect Brain Development, as well as mood changes

If you notice that your disabled child shows signs of becoming erratic, agitated or irritated at odd times and often without provocation, this may be a sign of a complication involving toxic chemical exposure. Cleaning agents in the home, even if not ingested, can create some change in disposition when a child is exposed to fumes. Of the many household cleaners, those with ammonia cause the greatest concern as they can irritate the throat, eyes, lungs, mouth and ears when exposed to the fumes. For disabled children, this exposure may not be easily described and, as a result, your child may simply change behavior and become somewhat irritable in response to the pain.

Pesticides are another concern in the behavior management of children with disabilities. While there are pesticides we may use on the exterior or interior of our homes, there are also pesticides on your child’s fruits and vegetables. Because pesticides cause some neurotoxicity, be certain your child is away from the home when pesticides are being used and also wash and dry all fruits and vegetables consumed.

For many parents of special needs children, the use of organic and non-toxic cleaning products is quite common. In fact, the use of vinegar, water, soap and baking soda is increasingly more common as it will prevent the release of fumes during the cleaning process.

Behavioral complications in disabled children are often excused as a part of the child’s personality. For some children, however, the agitation and irritation can be managed with the limited use of household chemicals. If you notice your child is quite irritated when you are cleaning house or working in the yard, try converting to a more natural approach to cleaning and see if you notice a change in your child’s personality.

Leave a Comment