If you learned that an older child was being made to wear nappies, even though they were able to use the toilet, what would you think?
Would you be appalled?
Would you be horrified at their parents?
Would you expect social services to step in and “save” that child?
Surely no child should have to live like that?
Everyone should be given every opportunity to have comfort and dignity.
So why do we sit back and let this happen to disabled people?
Because we ARE allowing it to happen to them, simply due to a lack of adequate toilet facilities.
That wheelchair logo on the door usually leads to a completely disabling facility, not the accessible one which is needed by many. Yes, nowadays we are enlightened and most people are aware that not all disabilities are visible. But all too often, those with the most visible disabilities are the ones who cannot use the facilities.
Yet this is all that needs to a be added to toilet facility – a hoist and a changing table.
They fit neatly into most family bathrooms.
Without these two pieces of equipment, what happens?
Parents have to put their child in nappies/pads to go out, even though the child doesn’t need them.
Care workers have told me stories of taking young adults out and having them sob because they have had to wear incontinence pads and been forced to soil themselves because there were no suitable toilet facilities to use and then nowhere to clean them up.
Sometimes independent adults have no option. If they want to go out, they either have to use incontinence products or risk embarrassment.
They often limit fluid intake or self medicate to stop themselves needing the toilet. Just because of a lack of properly accessible toilets.
And all the people who would step in to help if it were an able bodied child (or adult) being treated in this way KNOW ABOUT IT.
Social care teams know.
Care agencies know.
Everyone who would help an able-bodied person get out of a situation where they were being refused the use of toilet facilities knows that this is how disabled people are being treated.
And they have known for many years.
My son cannot stand up. He can use the toilet but only if there is a hoist to lift him from his wheelchair and a bench to lay on to sort clothing and switch to his toileting sling before hoisting to the toilet.
So do I force him to go out knowing that he might end up sat sobbing in his own waste because there was no toilet he could use and no way to clean him up?
Or do I allow him to become reclusive, refusing to out because he doesn’t want to have an accident in public because there are no toilets he can use?
What would you do?
Neither option is good for the child. Neither option is good for the parent.
I am guessing that you would try to bring change too.
Last year my son faked illness to get out of a cinema trip with friends just because he knew there were no toilets he could use in the city and he didn’t want to have an accident in front of his friends. I wrote about it and a man got in touch saying that he has barely left his home in ten years because the situation my son was so afraid of had happened to him.
I want more for my son’s future.
So when you see posts online discussing Changing Places toilets please share them. Please support the people asking. Tag in attractions local to you and ask them if they have a toilet with a hoist and changing table yet. Use #ChangingPlaces and tell them that, even though you don’t need the facilities, equality matters to you.
We should all stand up for the rights of others.