Changing Places

Yay for the summer holidays! A time to relax and kick back, head off to the beach or the hills or the theme park. Or wherever. For most parents the day’s outing will be dictated by two simple questions – what will everyone enjoy? and can we afford it?

Some families though, aren’t so lucky. Their choices are dictated by the facilities that are available.

IMG_8380Hence the reason why I’m including a picture of my bare feet on our toilet floor (and remember I am the only female in this household, so let’s just say it is of dubious cleanliness).

Soon after I started blogging I read quite a bit about a controversy that was raging between those bloggers with disabilities and parent bloggers. It was all fairly heated and I tried to learn from it rather than my natural reaction which was to bridle at someone telling me what I should be doing. One of the key things I took from this argument was the importance of keeping in mind my child’s dignity. This means not covering things that I wouldn’t want others to know if it was myself that was being written about.

I’m now going to break that rule. Because this is an important issue affecting many thousands of people, yet is almost universally ignored.

Like many with development delay, Pudding still wears nappies and probably will do for quite some time. When we are out and about I usually try to find a secluded corner outside to change him. But this isn’t always possible – in our climate we can’t guarantee a dry patch of ground. And let’s face it, he isn’t a baby any more and he deserves better than other people’s judgemental looks.

Before I’ve always blithely thought that the disabled or accessible toilets would be adequate for anyone not able to use the standard toilet. But all over the country – perhaps the world – there are people lying on toilet floors to be changed because they have no other choice.  The Changing Places campaign asks for a few standards – a hoist, an adult-sized bench and adequate space. This doesn’t seem too much to ask, does it? Yet so often, even when new leisure facilities are being build, those with additional needs are being left out.

Places like this do exist, but they are few and far between. The library in our city centre has one, and there are others nearby, but outside the centre it is 14 miles to the next.

861 suitable Changing Places in the whole country.

So next time you’re out on a family outing, have a look around. Would anyone, regardless of their disabilities, be able to visit too? Would we? If that bothers you even the slightest bit, please consider signing this petition or taking the Barefoot Challenge yourself.

There are other fantastic people campaigning on this issue too, so if you don’t want to just take my word about this, do visit Ordinary Hopes or Mum on a Mission to name just a couple. Thank you!

PS. I did consider calling this blog post ‘Poo!’ as it is one of Puddings clearest words. He signs it beautifully too!

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