All too often businesses will pull out the argument that they don’t need to improve toilet facilities because they are already “meeting minimum legal standards”.
They are, after all, providing a “toilet-with-a-wheelchair-logo-on-the-door”. They don’t see the need to do anything else.
Indeed, an Asda store recently won praise for putting another sign on that door to remind people that not all disabilities are visible, that not everyone who needs to use that toilet will be using a wheelchair. It is a positive step and I think that more places should give that reminder.
The reason Asda felt the need to use the extra sign is because most people assume that the only people who need those toilet facilities are wheelchair users.
Yet one of the big groups of people who cannot use these toilets are wheelchair users.
There are many full time wheelchair users who are completely independent people, totally able to self-transfer if they can get their powered wheelchair next to the toilet.
Clearly not happening here.
Bins in the way and the toilet is too close to the wall. Powered chairs have a big base and wheels behind the seat.
Even for someone who can manage a few steps, the rails on only one side are not helpful. Many people need to get their chair in front of the toilet to transfer.
People who can self transfer using their upper body strength cannot use this toilet.
Turning is not easy either.
It would be impossible to lift Adam out of his chair and onto the toilet in this room.
It would be impossible for friends of mine who use powered chairs but who can self-transfer to use this toilet. They are unable to use this toilet.
Adam is not able to self transfer. He needs a hoist to lift him from his chair and to support him when using the toilet. He cannot use a toilet without a hoist. He cannot use this toilet.
So who exactly are these toilets with a logo on the door aimed at?
Not most of the disabled people we know. Disabled by unusable facilities!
Can you imagine not being able to use the toilet when you were out?
Can you imagine if there was one but the room was too small to actually walk into it?
Or maybe it was set up high and you couldn’t reach it?
How would you feel if the management told you that it didn’t matter whether or not you could use it, they had provided all they needed to.
That logo on the door might as well say “NO ENTRY”.
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