Advocates in Ohio want more accessibility across the nation for adults with disabilities. Jennifer Corcoran’s son Matthew is 22, and enjoys being able to go places in the community. He participates in a day program and goes to church with his family.
Unfortunately, Jennifer has trouble providing Matthew with a dignified way to manage his hygiene while in public. Matthew’s disability causes incontinence. Very few places offer changing facilities suitable for disabled adults. While it is common to see changing tables in restrooms, most of them are designed to accommodate infants and young children.
There are just two adult changing facilities in Montgomery County, Ohio, where Corcoran lives. The Montgomery County Board of Developmental Disabilities is hoping to put changing tables in high-traffic areas such as airports, grocery stores, and libraries. They are able to fund the project because of funding provided by Montgomery County.
On March 1, members of the board, Jennifer, and Matthew are heading to Columbus to bring the issue to state legislators, but this year with even more accessibility. Mitchell Snyder, Director of Provider Relations for Montgomery County Board of Developmental Disabilities Services, says that when Jennifer and Matthew head to Columbus on Wednesday to discuss the situation with lawmakers they will bring two adult changing facilities with them.
For disabled people, everyday tasks such as using the bathroom or bathing are seldom easy. For many people who have physical disabilities, we are all too familiar with the need to limit our fluid intake. Growing up, I became skilled at remembering just how many ounces of fluid were in the drinks that I brought with me to school every day. In high school, there were days when I didn’t drink at all.
Making things more complicated is the fact that most public bathrooms only have one accessible restroom stall. A standard bathroom stall barely accommodates my caregiver who needs to assist me with toileting. They don’t accommodate mobility equipment either.
Disabled people deserve accessible bathrooms. People shouldn’t have to be changed on bathroom floors or limit their fluid intake. An accessible bathroom allows disabled people to manage their hygiene with dignity and privacy. Everyone deserves to live with dignity. Accessible bathrooms are just one more tool that allow us to live life in the community.
Brown, Malena. “Advocates Push for More Adult Disability Resources and Accessibility.” Dayton 24/7 Now, WRGT, 24 Feb. 2023, https://dayton247now.com/amp/news/local/advocates-push-for-more-adult-disability-resources-and-accessibility.