Have you ever wondered how parents of grown children with severe disabilities change their children when they’re out and about? More often than not, they have to take their young adult out of the wheelchair, lay them on the floor of a disabled toilet, change them and lift them back into the wheelchair. It’s a difficult task and it gets trickier as the child grows. But it’s not just the physicality that challenges parents. Often the disabled toilet isn’t big enough to accommodate the wheelchair once the child is on the floor. Sometimes the floor is wet and often it’s dirty. It’s an onerous and stressful task and gives a whole new meaning to the word “accessibility”.
This dilemma spawned the Changing Places movement in England in 2006 after a consortium of like-minded organisations campaigned for fully accessible toilets equipped with full-size change tables with hoists attached. Now there are about 540 Changing Places toilets across England, Wales and Scotland.