Accessibility and Inclusion Shouldn’t be a Luxury

Ceri-Ann Brown by Ceri-Ann Brown Additional Needs

Ceri-Ann Brown

Ceri-Ann Brown

My name is Ceri-Ann Brown and I live in Stockport, Manchester. I live with the love of my life Phil, my amazing daughter (Amy-Rose) and my giant gu...

I've seen a lot of blog posts about changing facilities and I am shamelessy going to board that bandwagon and join in because it is a very important issue and one that is close to my heart.

We are yet to face that terrible decision of whether or not to change Amy on the floor.

We have managed to time our days accordingly, or have even used the boot of our old car to perform a full outfit change on one of those occasions where you have no choice but to change.

Every trip out becomes a sort of risk assessment.

Will there be wheelchair access? Will there be suitable changing facilities?

These are my two main questions. In fact if I was a doll with a string and 2 phrases, those would definitely be two of my phrases.

We recently embarked on a family trip to the zoo (Chester zoo specifically).

I have nothing but praise and admiration for the zoo and how well accommodated that made us feel during our visit.

I wish it could be the same everywhere.

Being able to go on the island tour boat ride made me feel like an absolute VIP.

The staff diligently assembled the adapted boat so that it had a ramp and a raised flat space to park the the chair and they attached the hooks to secure Amy down.

I was so proud of her as well, she cried at first as she didn't understand what was happening. But once we all got on the boat and it started to move she was SO excited.

Seeing her happy little face light up at this new experience and motion was probably in my top 5 memories of Amys' life so far.

The changing facilities were a dream. I even posted to the space to change facebook page and was astounded by the positive feedback my post received.

There are so many others are there like us that are desperate for these kinds of facilities so that they too can build memories and lead a normal life like everyone else.

It shouldn't be a luxury or a special treat.

I know that it comes down to space and money, but how can you put a value on the dignity, safety and comfort of another human being?

The room had a height adjustable bed and sink, a hoist system, even a shower. The whole thing was amazing.

Disabled toilets are so often just a bigger room with a toilet in. I hate the assumption that all people with a disability only need more space and a grab rail.

Even our city hospital doesn't have a proper system to weigh the child. I have to sit on chair scales holding Amy, and then go on the scales separately so they can work out her weight.

Surely there should be some sort of bed that can weigh a person? You can't walk through the main entrance of the hospital without seeing at least 3 children who use wheelchairs.

I think very slowly the world is starting to become more inclusive and perceptive of the needs of others.

But we must push and push to raise awareness and praise those who do provide the correct facilities.

Chester zoo absolutely transformed our day out by making it no big deal going on a boat ride, or doing a full outfit change.

It was incredible having space for the wheelchair and feeding pump and then additional space for me to choose another outfit for Amy.

I loved how I could also have showered her if I wanted to.

I implore you, if you work for a big company with public access - Enquire and push for FULLY adapted disabled toilets.

It may cost a lot to set up but in the long run you will be improving the quality of life for thousands.

We don't want our days to be governed by where we can and can't change, it would be like telling an able bodied person they aren't allowed to go to the toilet.


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