A Changing Places toilet enables me to breathe – what do I mean by that?
I’m a full-time wheelchair user, and can transfer with my walking frame and the assistance of 1 person. I have only used one Changing Places toilet, and the difference between that and a standard disabled toilet is astonishing.
Disabled toilets are required to be a certain size, yet this is not always the case as, more often than not, they are smaller than they should be. Each time that I have used a standard disabled toilet, I feel trapped, I tense myself up from becoming anxious about falling and, in the process, colliding with the sink or hitting the wall before I land on the floor. Even falling between the toilet and the wall petrifies me.
Disabled facilities should not only be completely accessible, but they need to be safe too.
Thankfully, I’ve not had an accident but these worries are a constant, more so when I’m transferring from my wheelchair to the toilet. I become hyper-focused; I have to concentrate so hard otherwise the slightest distraction will make me panic. When I’m back in my wheelchair, I am exhausted – this could be avoided if there were more Changing Places toilets.
I remember when I first went into a Changing Places toilet, I was stunned into silence; I’d never seen anything like it before, something that was fully accessible, and in one room! I instantly felt like I could breathe and that I didn’t need to tense myself up. I felt incredibly at ease when transferring to the toilet. When I was back in my wheelchair, I didn’t feel as tired, which meant that I could still enjoy my day out.
More buildings, venues and establishments need Changing Places toilets, they are exceptional and an absolute game changer for disabled people.