When men have walked on the moon, why is lunch out so hard?

“Have they got a bathroom I can use?”

Today we ventured out for lunch with friends. We did everything we could, we timed drinks at home, went to the toilet at the last possible moment and I didn’t take a drink for him in the car like most people would on a hot day.

We arrived, parked and found the trendy place we were visiting for the first time.

Downside – a big step to get in.
Upside – Adam’s wheelchair could get up it. (many chairs couldn’t)
Downside – most tables inaccessible to us.
Upside – one table was vaguely accessible.
Downside – a family was already sat there.
Upside –  The family were kind enough to move.

Food and drinks ordered and everyone is happy.
And then the question, “Have they got a bathroom I can use?”

And my heart ached because I had to say no.

I should imagine that YOU would be quite cross if you went out to eat to find that there were no toilet facilities in the building for your child to use.

How about if there were none in the whole street?

Or in the whole town?

Because, for my son, there were no toilet facilities he could use in the whole town.

That probably wouldn’t be acceptable for you, not if it was your child.

But it is MY child. And I don’t think it is acceptable for him either.

Okay, he needs a little extra in a bathroom so I wouldn’t expect every cafe, diner or restaurant to have a hoist assisted toilet, but surely it is not expecting too much to have ONE in every town centre? Disabled people like to go out too you know!

Have you ever wondered how people who cannot stand up use the toilet?

Do you assume that “disabled toilets” have everything in them that all disabled people need? Do you assume that these are the very people that “disabled toilets” are for?

Indeed, many supermarkets now put those signs on the door reminding people that not all disabilities are visible. Because some people look and tut when they see seemingly able-bodied people use those facilities which are “intended for wheelchair users”.

Would it surprise you if I told you that some wheelchair users cannot use those facilities with a wheelchair logo on the door?

My son is one of hundreds of thousands of people who cannot.

This, to us, is a very disabling toilet, despite the wheelchair logo on the door.Not accessible

My son’s manual chair is quite compact but it would not be easy for a powered wheelchair user to turn to lock the door? Where would a carer stand to assist?

This is an accessible toilet, with space for wheelchair users, carers and any other necessary equipment as well as a hoist and a changing table for those who need it.

img_7176

These “Changing Places toilets” should be in addition to the standard “disabled toilets” provided, as a combination is required to meet all needs.

Maybe, if these facilities were standard, then we wouldn’t need signs reminding people that not all disabilities are visible, because everyone would know that more than one type of accessible toilet is provided for a good reason.

Maybe then, those who are more mobile but who need the extra space or privacy of the disabled toilet could use it without stares. It must be awful to have people judge you when you need the toilet. Using the facilities in public places can be a bit uncomfortable for us all, but it must be very hard for those who have invisible illnesses.

But not quite as awful as not being able to use a toilet at all. Because some people, just like my son, are currently unable to use ANY toilet facilities in most towns, villages, shopping centres, cinemas, theatres or tourist attractions.

And imagine the stares those people are met with when they couldn’t hold on any longer, when there is nowhere suitable to clean up and they have to travel home to do so.

How would you feel?


 

You can do more than think about it, you could sign THIS PETITION to help us make Changing Places Toilets become mandatory in major new developments.

None of us is immune to disability – one day you could need these facilities too.

Make it happen before your dignity depends on them.

 

22 thoughts on “When men have walked on the moon, why is lunch out so hard?

  1. One of my local GP surgeries has a toilet with a disabled sticker on the door…I took myself to the toilet in my quite compact power chair…I just managed to open the heavy door with one hand whilst steering backwards with the other…put light on and it was a longish tunnel like place with all the usual handles etc….I wheeled in and looked back to find that the door did not automatically shut behind me…there was not enough room to turn so I was left deciding if I should remove knickers and sit on toilet in full view of anyone passing or try to wait….absolutely ridiculous…on mentioning this to health worker in the surgery she just looked blankly at me….If you design something please please can you use it to make sure it is fit for purpose….Also surely you would expect all surgeries and clinics to have hoists and benches for goodness sake….keep giving them hell until they listen…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely. At our local zoo the toilet isn’t big enough to get a powered chair in and shut the door. It is ridiculous that things have not moved forward. Those involved in designing such facilities should try using them from a chair.

      Like

  2. I support adults with learning disabilities and this is a problem we see all the time, its heartbreaking that everyone doesn’t have a place to eat or go to the toilet within a reasonable distance of where they want to visit. I have signed the petition x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I cannot bear the thought that this awful situation will continue for another generation.

      Ten years from now, I don’t want another mum to be feeling like I do and I certainly don’t want there to be any ten year old children feeling as my son does.

      Like

  3. I can imagine how difficult it must be for you and your son in certain situations when all the facilities aren’t available. Wonder how you coped up in the town that day with no toilet facility at all!

    Lots of love and support from my side.

    Like

    1. Thank you. We all expect facilities to be provided for us and we consider it to be a reasonable expectation. Disabled people should be able to expect toilet facilities too.

      Like

  4. Very thought provoking especially the part about how it could affect any of us any time. It is unbelievable that there is not a single properly equipped toilet for Adam in the town 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Our local council have been pushing for more changing places toilets. I know there is one by the beach hut they rent out and I have just looked up to see if we have any in our town. Apparently there are two. Your post really did open my eyes to how important these toilets are needed. I know we had the issue of learning how to change our son standing up when he got too big for the baby changing tables. I hope more councils sign up for these toilets so that toilets won’t need to be an issue for anyone anymore x

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I completely understand where your coming from, my mum had a mobility scooter and really struggled to find toilets that would accommodate that, even with her normal wheelchair (which was slightly wider) struggled with some of the ‘accessible’ toilets

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I think that it is so important the issues you have raised here and that more people are made aware asap! It shouldn’t be the case that even in the WHOLE of the town, there isn’t the right kind of accessible toilet and all new builds should be built accordingly and old builds looked at to see if they can be adapted. Here’s hoping change comes sooner, rather than later.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Leigh at Fashion Du Jour LDN x

    Liked by 1 person

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