I follow quite a few disability groups and pages on Facebook, On many of them I have seen lots of posts congratulating various places, mainly supermarkets on there new Disabled Toilet signs. The Disabled Toilets are no longer called ‘Disabled Toilets’ but now ‘Accessible Toilets’. The main point these new signs portray are the fact that ‘Not every disablitiy is visable’. Many people with such invisible disabilities feel that they get judged when using a disabled toilet. Some have even been confronted, Some then felt the need to explain their own personal situation. This is not right. No one has the right to judge and force someone to explain why they need this loo.
I do applaud those who have worked hard and campaigned to make such places see the need and put up these signs. Personally myself I do not lend further praise to the supermarkets who have added these signs. To me these signs are just stickers, stickers that can be stuck on like a plaster. A temporary fix to being SEEN to being more accessible. When you have campaigned and also been amongst other fellow campaigners who have had many sometimes shocking or disheartening responses from such supermarkets I am sure you all would feel the same too.
As good as a green sticker is to some, it is no use to families like mine. I don’t really care if others feel we are allowed to use a disabled loo or not. because quite frankly my son is too disabled to use one either way. Those words on the new green sign mean nothing to me. Infact he sign that is most relatable to me then is the sign that says ‘Out Of Order’ This sign is our truth. These so called ‘Accessible Toilets’ are always ‘OUT OF ORDER’ to us.
My son has severe Cerebral Palsy so is unable to sit on a toilet, even with the help of a grab rail. My son needs to be changed. Unfortunately he is becoming to big for most Baby changing units. Soon without proper adult sized Changing Benches our only choice will be to lie him on the toilet floor. How undignified is that? Unfortunately as degrading as this choice is, this is not a long-term choice. As he grows my ability to lift him out of his wheelchair and lay him on the toilet floor and back again will be gone. I will no longer be able to do this safely. It will be far to dangerous for my son and for myself. I am also not in the running for worlds strongest woman. This is when a hoist becomes an essential piecie of equipment.
As many of you are aware I recently have had a very poor response from Tesco regarding installing Bench and Hoist Toilet facilities (Changing Places). I will be infact re visiting this response at a later date, so don’t worry if you missed it. Asda have said to myself that they are planning to ‘roll out’ Changing Places to many stores, but have yet to set a timetable or could not give any further information ‘if or when’ my local store will be installing such facilities. The other major supermarkets have so far failed to get back to me at all.
So for now that green sticker remains just a green sticker and the Out of Order sign might as well be made permanet for many thousands of people.