Change the planning laws and the Building Code Of Australia so all members of our community especially those with a profound disability have access to suitable toileting and change facilities.
This is my son Liam, he is 12 years old. Liam has cerebral palsy and other chromosomal abnormalities which leave him severely intellectually and physically disabled. Liam has never walked or talked, is wheelchair bound and is fed via a PEG Tube in his tummy. Regardless of all that Liam has been through he is just like any other boy. He is very sociable and loves meeting people, listening to music, swimming with assistance and using the liberty swing at the park. Despite not talking Liam can communicate, he understands a lot, he gives the best cuddles and has a wicked sense of humour. His laugh is infectious.
Liam is also incontinent and wears nappies. Our big problem is when we go out into the community there is no change facility/ toilet to change Liams nappy. There are plenty of accessible disabled toilets but these are only useful to those who are mobile such as an elderly person with a walking frame or someone who is physically strong enough to transfer themselves from a wheelchair to the toilet. There are tens of thousands of children and adults like Liam living in our communities who do not have access to any changing or toileting facilities once they leave home. The current planning laws and building code of Australia are not adequate to meet the toileting requirements of a person with profound physical disabilities.
Unless you know someone who is profoundly disabled like Liam it would not dawn on you that toileting/ changing facilities are not available to disabled people like Liam. When I ask if change facilities are available for Liam people point to the disabled toilet expecting me to lie him on a dirty floor or use a baby change table suitable for a baby and not a 12 year old boy. Imagine the disgust of people if you told a mother with a new baby to change her baby on the toilet floor. Well this is what I am expected to do with Liam. I have three choices currently, leave Liam sit in his own urine and faeces till we get home, change him in public on a park bench or put him on the urine stained, dirty floor of the disabled toilet.
Liam is 12 and weighs 26 kg. I struggle to lift him out of his wheelchair onto the floor of the toilet especially when poo has leaked out of his nappy. Getting him up from the floor is almost impossible. Think when you see the next disabled person like Liam in a wheelchair, how does their carer change them, where can they go? What about the profoundly disabled adults with elderly parents, what hope do they have of changing their child.
The building code of Australia has to change, we need proper changing/ toileting facilities to meet the needs everyone in our community not just for those who are mobile and have a voice to complain. Adequate change facilities need to include a change table large enough for an adult and ceiling track hoists to lift the wheelchair bound person on and off the change table. People could supply their own sling to use in the hoist. Yes it will be more expensive but money should not be an excuse to deny a disabled person a basic human right.
Do you ever have to use a toilet when you leave home???
Please sign my petition to change the Building code of Australia. All new public buildings or renovations to older buildings should have upgraded toileting/ changing facilities to meet the needs of everyone in our communities especially the most vulnerable. It's a basic human right! Thank you.
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Zoe Neville needs your help with “My name is Liam. I am 12 years old and have cerebral palsy. I wear nappies, please provide me access to suitable change facilities when I leave my home. Please sign my petition to change the Building Code Of Australia.”. Join Zoe and 43,496 supporters today.