And strangely enough, that applies to those individuals who are in wheelchairs or have severely limited mobility as well as those who are fully mobile, although you’d be surprised at how many supermarkets, attractions and parks don’t seem to understand this basic fact of life.
Allow me to elaborate.
Sam is fully reliant on his carers for all his intimate care.
He is doubly incontinent and now too tall/heavy for the baby change tables.
He is also almost 7 years old; and cognitively far more intact than most people realise.
He does not want to be changed on the floor of a toilet.
For goodness sake, they even give you a hook for your handbag so it doesn’t have to touch the floor!
It isn’t just uncomfortable; its unhygienic.
Not only that, but most standard disabled toilets aren’t big enough to get his wheelchair, a carer AND Sam in, at the same time.
As Sam grows it becomes more and more difficult to find places to change him; after all, while most people probably wouldn’t be overly shocked to see a baby having a nappy change on a park bench I very much doubt the same would be said if it were a young adult being changed.
Or a not-so-young adult for that matter.
And that is before you consider their dignity, comfort and privacy (the disabled individual that is, not the onlookers).
And yet, it doesn’t have to be this way.
As a good friend stated in her blog (The Inclusive Home), a fully accessible toilet facility doesn’t actually have to be much larger than your average car parking space.
It just needs a changing bench, a hoist, and the obvious sink.
And the difference that having these facilities makes?
It means we can go places as a family.
It means Sam and his fellow superhumans can have the same dignity afforded to them that others take for granted.
So, a huge shout out to Trentham Gardens in Stoke on Trent, Cadbury World in Birmingham, and all the other places that have made the effort to put in a Changing Places facility.
It's time others followed suit.