Invisible disability signs on toilets? I think we could still do more.
You may have seen the ‘accessible’ toilet signs appearing throughout supermarkets lately? Whilst I believe this is a great thing - it was so incredibly outdated to think that all disabilities are wheelchair based - it still doesn’t feel like quite enough.
The Colostomy Association have started rolling out their own campaign. It focusses on materials placed inside accessible toilets, not just on the door, for people whose disabilities aren’t visible - like those of us with an ostomy. I think this is a great step in the right direction.
What the Colostomy Association would like to see placed in accessible toilets are:
- A full length mirror on the door – some people need to be able to see their appliance via a mirror.
- A shelf to put any items you need on – some of us require more products than others.
- A hook on the back of the door.
- Disposable bins in all cubicles, not just female ones - so we can dispose of our used stoma bags in privacy.
- Well-stocked sanitary items – such as hand wash and toilet roll.
How this would have a positive impact for me, personally
I am going to use myself as an example now of how these suggestions could really help my personal stoma-related wellbeing:
- I like to use a mirror to make sure the outline of my bag isn’t too noticeable, if it is I can adjust my clothing or bag as appropriate.
- I’d hook my travel bag onto the shelf and place my disposable bag on the shelf ready for my old bag (I am fairly tall so most standard supermarket shelves and sinks are pretty low for me)
- Knowing that there is an appropriate bin for my waste supplies would reduce worry about looks from other toilet users for putting a bag in the bin.
- I like to know when I need to clean the spout of my bag that there is enough toilet paper to do this and enough hand wash so that I can clean my hands.
Everybody should have the right to these standards in toilet facilities
However, I personally feel that the items above should be a requirement in all toilets anyway as they can improve everybody’s wellbeing, not just those of us with disabilities.
There still needs to be more social awareness
As for signs on doors? The accessible toilet sign would definitely compliment the list of items that the Colostomy Association suggests. Or perhaps even the ‘stoma friendly’ sign which is even more specific. We’ve all been affected at times by someone who doesn’t think before they speak – personally, I would never let those kind of rude comments go unchallenged; but that’s just me! Others might be really hurt from comments. As a society, we all need to band together to quash the taboos around what disabilities look like. I’d like to see even more campaigns from charities, national and local bodies or councils taking a stand to make these invisible disabilities the ‘norm’ in society.
Can you think of anything else you would like to see in accessible toilets? Let me know in the comments below!