This is part of a response from a business I contacted to discuss the need for toilets with a hoist and changing table.
“I am afraid that we don’t currently have a toilet with a hoist and adult changing bed but we do have a fully disabled toilet.”
Yes, that is the problem!
Your toilet is fully disabled -it is completely unusable for my son who is quite able to use a toilet, he just needs a hoist and bench to enable him to get on it! Hundreds of thousands of people, who are just people when the right facilities are in place, become entirely disabled by your “fully disabled toilet”!
The reply also included this little gem:-
“It is very hard for us to strike a balance between an able-bodied experience as well as catering for many specific disabilities.”
As an able-bodied person I am completely unaware of any occasion where facilities which make something accessible to others have compromised my own experience. The Eden Project, for example, has both a Changing Places toilet and another with a RoomMate device, which describes where everything is inside the room to help those with visual impairments. There is also a carriage on the land train which has a lift and the facilities to properly secure a wheelchair. There are symbols around the site to help those with learning disabilities get the most out of the experience. Hearing loops are available in the visitor centre and a braille guidebook is available. None of these things has lessened my “able-bodied experience” in any way, shape or form.
Should I apologise to places like Cornwall Services now that the able bodied experience has been compromised by the presence of their Changing Places toilet? The management team has said that no such apology is required. Each day they have between 20 and 40 people using their Changing Places toilet and, thankfully, it has not hindered any able-bodied people who are all still able to use any of the other toilet facilities in the building. Indeed, if every toilet other than the Changing Places toilet was out of action, able-bodied people could still use that one – the presence of a hoist and changing table does not hinder the usage of the toilet!
Friends have told me that they haven’t noticed any adverse effects from being in the vicinity of the Mobiloo either, for which I am delighted!
Until getting this response I had been completely unaware that the presence of accessible facilities might upset the balance for able-bodied people.
Has the presence of an accessible toilet with a hoist and changing table ever negatively affected your experience?
For those who need them, toilets with a hoist and changing table change everything. The world opens up, we can go wherever we choose and we can stay as long as we like. No stress, no fear and no sadness. We are not less, we are just people.
The reality is simple. The only negative experience comes when places do not have these facilities.
Although, I have not checked with those poor, dear “fully disabled toilets” to ask if the presence of a changing places toilet or Mobiloo makes them feel inferior in any way!