You will, like me, I am sure always feel extra sympathy whenever you see a youngster in a kids wheelchair, however, my sympathy turned to embarrassment and actual anger last weekend when I saw a young lady called Mandy being interviewed on Sky News.
She talked, so sensibly and eloquently about the problems she encounters every time she takes her now 11-year-old son out anywhere. He likes lots of other young adults, has problems that mean he will need to be changed and cleaned at times and whilst there are some disabled facilities about and even those run in conjunction with the radar scheme he and his mother come across things I had never thought about.
We have all seen changing tables in public toilets and very helpful they are for babies and younger children when you have to deal with someone who is becoming a young adult it is a very different situation. Normally the changing tables are not big enough for the growing child and are at a height that means it is virtually impossible for the person to be lifted on to them.
The only alternative then is to use the floor in the disabled facility, but if you watched the news interviews on Sky you will have seen how much filth there is on even the cleanest of public toilet floors and even if they are genuinely cleaned every hour the amount of waste that can be deposited on the floor in the intervening period is amazing. Apart from the dirt that parents with children and young adults in these sorts of conditions have to put up with the actual room available on the floors is very restricted which makes the simplest of operations very difficult indeed.
We need to make sure that every local council fulfills their requirements under the latest updated version of the disability discrimination act (2005) and provides the facilities required and these should include adequate space, proper hoists and clean and properly maintained publicly available disabled toilets. This will be a long and arduous task to complete but unless a real effort is made now hundreds and thousands of young people will be discriminated against for the rest of their lives and this without even thinking of the stress and strain involved for the parents or carers of these youngsters.
Remember as well not all disabilities are visible and just because you see someone enter a disabled facility without a wheelchair or walking stick does not mean that they do not suffer from a disability you cannot see, so be compassinate, not judgemental.