Remember when you had a baby? Remember when you’ve been out in public and baby needed changing; what a pain eh? Searching for a baby changing toilet …hoping it’s clean, roomy enough for the buggy, the changing bag, your handbag, your toddler if you have one!
Then the ol toddler years, having to run to a toilet as quickly as you can while dragging a screaming dictator “Pee is coming mammy , it’s coming fast!” Once again you hope the baby changing toilet is free because let’s face it, no one can handle queues in the ladies loo while having to squeeze yourself plus jumping jack flash toddler into the tiniest cubical you have ever seen and if you’ve a baby or another ‘wiser’ toddler in tow…then God help you.
Imagine if you’d a child who never outgrew the ‘nappy’ stage?
Those kiddies grow.
Disabled toilets have no changing facilities – how do I know? Because my son is 14, doubly incontinent and losing his ability to walk.
Which means, soon enough I will have to lay my son, my firstborn son, my perfect Ethan on a public toilet floor in order to change him.
Would you be willing to lay your baby down on the floor in order to change them? No, understandably you wouldn’t. Why is it then do you think our government and the powers that be, think it’s ok for me to lay my son down on the dirty floor?
Ethan is not at this stage yet. He is able to hold onto the railings while I change him but I’ve no idea how long this will be possible.
Everytime I pass another parent waiting patiently for the single disabled toilet , I can’t help but wonder if they have to lay their child on the floor in order to change them…it breaks my heart to think that most do.
I have been a parent to Ethan for fourteen years and each year as he steadily loses abilities I am forced into another aspect of this world and disabilities.
A few weeks ago it was his first ever wheelchair and trying my best to navigate it in a world where some don’t see it, us or him.
Now it’s the disabled toilets. Yes we have used them for a long time. Yes I have had arguments with other parents when they see me and a walking Ethan come out of the toilet. I am not as quick to judge when I see a similar situation unfold in front of my eyes simply because there are a lot of disabilities that don’t require a wheelchair; I know that first hand.
What I will never and can never understand is the lack of respect for the toilet itself. I have stood outside waiting to change Ethan while a gang of giggling school girls came out of the disabled toilet, each of them staring at me almost goading me into saying something. May I add, the security area is right outside this disabled toilet , the security just watched on because let’s face it, disabled toilets are for everyone, aren’t they?
How many times have you seen grown men and women ‘nip’ into the disabled toilets in bars, restaurants, even theme parks simply because they are convenient?
What is it about some of the general public and their complete disregard for those living with disabilities? It really is bringing an anger out in me; the type of anger I first had when the doctor told me my child wouldn’t reach adulthood. I don’t want to feel anger. Anger is a strong emotion to carry and to be honest I am too tired to be this angry.
I am tired. I am tired of having to fight for every single damn thing Ethan needs from therapies to supports. I am tired of watching inconsiderate pr*cks park where ever the f*ck they like and I am tired of having to clean a ‘cleaned’ (according to the sheet thingy they have hanging in most toilets–yep I check that!) public disabled toilet in order for my son to be able to use it. I am tired of worrying about what happens when I can’t help him onto the toilet seat or when he is no longer able to stand aided while I freshen him up …
Ireland, fix the goddamn disabled toilets please. I beg you. Make the toilet an actual fully functioning disabled toilet – with a adult size changing beach and a hoist, add a pull down changing bench, which can be adjusted according to the height of the child.
Help us be more visible in our communities, we shouldn’t have to time our visits or decide where we can visit based on bloody toilets…it’s ridiculous in 2016!
For a clue about what is happening in England regarding disabled toilets have a look here.
Ireland it’s time to change.
And to those of you who ‘nip’ into the disabled toilets …stop please…it’s really horrible and downright lazy, ignorant, selfish and risky…risky, how? Let’s just say, a parent of a child who needs that toilet you’ve come walking out of can cut you with a single word and trust me , it won’t be ‘hello’.
This was originally published on familyfriendlyhq