Jane Holmes Blog: Disabled toilets just don't meet users' needsBy Jane Holmes
October 01, 2012
Jane Holmes is chief executive of Wokingham-based charity Building for the Future which provides support and activities for disabled children.
She set up the charity after her daughter Kitty was born with severe cerebral palsy.
Imagine that, wherever you are reading this, that there is not a loo that you can use.
Unless you're up a mountain or stuck in a traffic jam, there is usually one quite close by.
But think for a moment that there isn't and that you are absolutely desperate.
Or that you physically can't get there. Of course, in most public places, there is a disabled loo, but imagine if you can't even use that.
That you need specialist seating in order to use the loo, with clips and straps so that you don't fall. Or that you are still in nappies – or pads as they are called once you exit infancy – but that there is nowhere for you to be changed.
Let me tell you, a disabled loo is the very last place you would want to change a large child or adult who wears pads.
They are regularly used by able-bodied people who just don't want to wait, or they double up as baby changing or breast-feeding rooms.
I have never, in ten years, found a disabled loo that caters for my daughter.
There is never adequate seating for her and there is never a suitable place to change her, if we need to.
Changing or dressing on the floor is out of the question, unless you want to lie your child down in someone else's pee, but the changing table, designed for small babies would just be dangerous.
In fact, trying to manage in public disabled toilets, has actually given my ten year old daughter a phobia.
She panics and hyperventilates as soon as we so much as approach one.
This is just one of the many reasons why we need our Building For The Future, our charity which exists to provide a community centre for disabled children and their families.
Along with countless other services and provisions, we will offer a loo, in town, which caters for all children regardless of their level of ability.
Our building is getting very close now and we are working very hard to finalise things with the lawyers. Watch this space.http://www.getwokingham.co.uk/news/s/2121440_wokingham_is_the_best_place_to_bring_up_a_family_in_the_country