For those who do not know anyone with a special need some of the challenges go unnoticed.
Recently, my time spent with a teen with Cerebral Palsy opened my eyes to the lack of accessibility present in the community.
Imagine having to plan every outing around NOT having a bathroom that you can use when you need to be changed. Imagine being at the mall or movie theater and having to either go home or be changed on the floor because you are too heavy or too tall for the baby-changing station. Changing any person on the floor of a public restroom is not only unsanitary, but is also dangerous for both the caregiver and the individual.
This is an issue of great importance because currently those with special needs (and their families) are being denied access in the community. They are forced to decide whether or not to attend an event based on how long they will be there.
Just as many restrooms feature handicapped stalls and babychanging stations, there too should be adult-length changing tables to provide accessibility and remove limitations for many children, teens, and adults!!
The U.K has already begun a campaign entitled Changing Places which has successfully installed many accessible restrooms. It is time to follow suit and stop denying these individuals their human right to access in the community.
http://www.changing-places.org/ for more information.
Please consider signing this petition because this is a simple right, that is so easily taken for granted.
This lack of accessibility leaves a few options; the individual can be changed on the floor or brought home. Imagine lifting an 85-pound teenager and placing them on the floor of the public restroom. This process is degrading and simply not hygienic. It puts both the individual and the caregiver or parent at risk of injury.
Considering this, I am urging change and requesting that future changing stations are able to accommodate heavier and taller individuals. These changing stations can be installed in the family restroom or in the handicapped stall. Many restrooms are already large enough to accommodate such changes.
Currently, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport has taken initiative to ensure at least one adult-changing facility is available in each terminal. Overseas, there exists a campaign, Changing Places that has installed well over 200 accessible restrooms. More information regarding this campaign can be found via: http://www.changing-places.org/. These steps are highly commendable are they are providing incontinent individuals with an accessible environment.
I appreciate your time and consideration while reading this request.