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Why We Need Better Public Restrooms for People With Disabilities

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I’m not a fan of public restrooms, but I’ll use them. When you need to go, you need to go!

I’m the type of person who uses tissue to flush and unlock the door. The type of person who makes sure my bag hangs on the back of the door and doesn’t touch the floor (yuck). I’m a lover of automatic sinks and flushes (there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write), and I like to use my side or foot to open the door to make my swift exit.

Now that I have a child with disabilities, public restrooms are my arch-nemesis because the powers that be and building standards decided a room with some handrails was sufficient enough to tick a box that said “disabled.”

I remember when it dawned on me that my son had become too big for baby-changing tables. I realized there was no other option but the restroom floor or leaving and rushing home. How had no one thought of this? Does no one care?

Forget about the mother who has to lay her son on a filthy floor.

Don’t worry about a carer’s back while he tries to lift his loved one out of a wheelchair.

Forget about the parent with a wheelchair and specialist equipment trying to maneuver in a tight space.

Out-of-sight, out-of-mind, right?

Restrooms for people with disabilities need a bench, a hoist and more room for wheelchairs, equipment and a parent/carer to assist. Yet this seems to be a big ask.

Ignorance is bliss for many, but it really isn’t for us. We shouldn’t have to put photos on social media of children lying on restroom floors to highlight the need for these facilities. It’s common sense. Why doesn’t everyone see this? My beautiful boy deserves more than a restroom floor and all of those germs.

Thankfully, organizations such as Changing Places and Space to Change are raising awareness and building facilities for people with disabilities. Both organizations have created amazing facilities designed to make going to the restroom much easier for the disabled community. We’re all fighting for the same cause — to be able to take our family members out without having to worry about them lying on a restroom floor or rushing home because there are no appropriate restrooms.

Unfortunately, there are only 840 Changing Places facilities in the UK. This just isn’t enough.

So I ask you to please help by raising awareness for Changing Places and Space to Change by visiting the MyChangingPlace website or reading this petition on It would make such a big difference to so many people. We all need to fight for this. I don’t want our loved ones to face this challenge any longer.

If you’re in a position to do something about this, then please take action! And if you’re in my shoes, visit the Changing Places and Space for Changes websites. Talk to fellow campaigners. Send information to local places of interest. Tell them why we need this. Raise awareness.

One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.

Follow this journey on Brody, Me & GDD.

The Mighty is asking the following: What is a part of your or a loved one’s disease, disability or mental illness that no one is aware of? Why is it time to start talking about it? If you’d like to participate, please check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: May 31, 2016
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