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World Toilet Day – Accessible Changing Rooms Campaign THE BIG SQUAT

 World Toilet Day and The Big Squat Event

World Toilet Day

World Toilet Day

World Toilet Day takes place on November 19th and focuses mainly on the sanitation needs in developing countries. It highlights how important toilets can be and how they can truly make all the difference in the battle against disease and widespread infection. However, we’re looking at a campaign closer to home and one which has a huge impact on the lives of people living with disabilities in the UK. The Changing Places campaign is staging an event as part of a worldwide awareness raising efforts called ‘The Big Squat’.  

Changing Places

Changing Places is a campaign which is pushing for the installation of accessible changing rooms in a range of public places across the UK. There are many reason why properly accessible changing rooms are essential and many people living with different disabilities need more support and space to be able to toilet in public places comfortably.

Currently standard disabled toilets do not meet the needs of all people living with disabilities and their carers or support staff. People living with profound and multiple disabilities including learning disabilities, spinal damage and acquired brain injury often find themselves needing additional facilities to be able to comfortably utilise public toilets.

Changing Places toilets are different and provide initial facilities and apparatus to allow for easier usage.

Changing Places Toilets

Changing Places toilets provide the right equipment, enough space and a safe and clean changing environment. The equipment provides will either be a height adjustable adult-sized changing bench and a fully functional tracking hoist system or mobile hoist where this isn’t possible.

The changing areas will also have enough space for the disabled person as well as up to two carers and the toilet will be centrally placed to allow for support from carers on either side. Curtains or screens are also fitted so the disabled person and carer can have some privacy during the change.

The safety and cleanliness is provided by tear off paper roll to cover the bench before use and a large waste bin to allow for the disposal of pads. The floors are all non-slip to avoid any other accidents or risks.

Where do we want them?

The Changing Places campaign want to see their unique and potentially life changing toilets installed in all large public places. Their list of places includes:

• city centres
• shopping centres
• arts venues
• hospitals
• motorway service stations
• leisure complexes
• large railway stations
• airports

They also highlight that these new changing facilities should be installed in addition to pre-existing accessible toilets and not as a replacement. We definitely agree and think accessibility to comfortable toilets should be a basic right for all. Below is a case study looking at one mother and daughter who definitely see the need for accessible Changing Places toilets in every possible location.

Bethan and Lowri – A Case Study

Bethan is the mother of two daughters, Elin and Lowri, and the youngest, Lowri, lives with Retts Syndrome. Retts Syndrome means Lowri needs support with all her daily activities as she has no independent mobility. She uses continence pads for comfort and Bethan, Elin and Lowri were all pleased to have the chance to enjoy a happy family day out thanks to a Changing Places toilet.

The mum and daughters were able to enjoy a day out in Nottingham City Centre including shopping, lunch and a show at the local theatre. Nottingham City Council had the initiative to install a Changing Places toilet which allows for Bethan to help her daughter with her toileting needs without stress or difficulty, utilising the specialist hoist and changing equipment.

Bethan highlighted that without the Changing Places toilet there days out were very different as they had to plan their days out around specific times, ensuring to be home for mealtimes as Lowri would need to go to the toilet and they simply wouldn’t be able to change her comfortably in regular disabled toilets, as it would involve lying her on the floor. My own son Joe, has Dravet Syndrome and cannot be changed in most toilets. We had our vehicle specially adapted with a bench, curtains and a small hoist because of this issue.

Changing Places have taken Bethan and Lowri’s story as a great positive and use them regularly in their campaigns to show the importance of their toilets for whole families as well as individuals. This video tells a little more about their story:

(Full Transcript Below)

Take Part In the BIG SQUAT for World Toilet Day

logo for the big squat

The Big Squat event will be at 12 noon on 19 November

As part of World Toilet Day activities on the 19th November, the World Toilet Organisation (WTO) has launched The Big Squat- a movement for the toilet-less

To help raise awareness of the 2.5 million people worldwide who do not have access to sanitation, the WTO is asking people to squat for one minute in a highly visible location at 12 noon. Download the WTO toolkit for organising your Big Squat and don’t forget to share your photos via the Big Squat flickr group or by emailing them to WTO

The squatting exercise is highly symbolic of the problems faced by many people in the developing world, where a lack of toilets forces people to squat in fields, in the bush, along train tracks, or in other open places. Open defecation is a major problems: it spreads disease, resulting in over 1.8 million deaths from diarrhoeal disease every year. It also affects women’s wellbeing and safety: in many developing countries, women are forced to relieve themselves either before sunrise or after sunset, causing them immense discomfort and inconvenience as well as putting them at risk of rape and other attacks.

In the UK the Changing Places campaign will be using the Big Squat to help highlight the need for Changing Places toilets in public spaces in order to meet the needs of the 230,000 people who need additional support and appropriate facilities in order to use the toilet.

Some of their campaigners in London will be heading to the Queen Elizabeth II Olympic Park in Stratford to do a very public mass squat.  We also think this is a great opportunity to celebrate the availability of Changing Places facilities at the park and the accessibility legacy left behind by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralymplic games.

World Toilet Day Aids

The Uriwell Family

The Uriwell Family

At Living with Disability we regularly discuss the importance of dignity and independence in personal care and toileting. We have highlighted some of the many useful gadgets and aids on the market which can help in those awkward moments and reduce anxiety and fear for people who may find toileting problematic.

One of our favourite products comes from Uriwell as they cater for every member of the family and can be a great aid to keep to hand if you often find yourself in situations where your bladder gives you little warning. It’s also very valuable for helping young children who are learning to use the toilet.

On the theme of toilet training for younger children we also rate the Game of Pee which adds a bit of fun to the process. The game includes a Happy Pee and the game comes with different faces for the Uriwell as well as an educational booklet that can be coloured in. A wall chart allows you to mark your child’s progress and help them feel a sense of achievement as they move up the steps. The range has even expanded to include the Happy Poo and so toilet training really can be simpler than you thought.

World Toilet Day and the UK Changing Places campaign needs your support and we’re hoping after reading this you might take part in the Big Squat! (#BigSquat or contact  @CP_consortium on Twitter)

 Video Transcript

00:06 Speaker 1: My name is Bethan, and this is Lowri who is my 10-year-old daughter. Lowri is profoundly disabled. She has a condition called Rett syndrome. And she is completely dependent on us for all her activities of daily living. Lowri wears incontinence pads or nappies and so obviously, we have to change her during the day and in an ordinary disabled toilet that involves putting her on the floor because she is getting a big girl, and it’s no joke to manhandle that. You’ve got to keep her hands off the dirty floor ’cause the next place they’ll go is to her mouth. So, that’s why we need Changing Places toilets. We’ve got to get her onto this height adjustable table, so that’s either lift but ideally you want some kind of an equipment to help you with that because really you do far too much lifting. So, a ceiling track hoist is really ideal. It’s changed our life in the sense that coming to Nottingham for a day out, we can come here, we know it’s here, we can plan our whole day.

01:06 S1: When there’s a Changing Places toilet, it just increases the length of time that you can spend somewhere, and it means you are not time limited, you haven’t got that worry about how long am I going to be out? Where do I go next? If you know that there is a decent facility, then you can build that into your day, and it just takes the pressure off you. The Changing Places campaign is really important for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities and their family. I see it as being the next step. We’ve got standard accessible disabled toilets everywhere these days, everybody expects them. We’ve got baby changing everywhere and it’s expected. I think that having Changing Places toilets is the next step.

Low Tech Lifesavers: Weighted Blankets

Low Tech Lifesavers: Weighted Blankets

weighted blanket bed covering in pink,looks like a duvet or sheet

Weighted blankets come in many colours and patterns and look very much like ordinary bed coverings

Weighted blankets are heavy, specially made bed coverings. They use sewn-in bags of sand or other dense materials to make the covering heavy. They are mostly used for children with autism but be used to calm people with dementia or for other neurological conditions. They help children sleep and can help with tics and involuntary movements and conditions like restless leg syndrome.

This is another post inspired with thanks to @touretteshero. One of her fab blog posts led us to this product which we really believe deserves a mention on Living with Disability. The product in question is the use of weighted blankets, a simple invention which provides a carefully determined amount of pressure during sleep to help control any involuntary movements. They can improve the sleeping patterns and experience for those who have a number of different conditions.

Like the post on wrist straps, Tourettes Hero’s blog post, describes a product that has helped her get on with her life. She discusses how it helps provide some resistance to her tics but also mentions how the product was already on her horizon as she had seen them in use with autistic children. People who have an autistic spectrum disorder can have extreme difficulty sleeping due in many cases to proprieoceptive imbalance and even experience insomnia.  A weighted blanket can significantly improve these problems and they can also help in the day time to help control the stimming that is related to autistic spectrum disorders.

tourettes hero who inspired this post about weighted blankets

Tourettes Hero with a heavy sleep aid…sorry, wrong pic, I mean with the marvelous Stephen Fry 😉

So, what does a weighted blanket do?

Many of us have experienced the comforting feeling of heavy eiderdowns or blankets, maybe at grandparents as a child or the feeling of being ‘tucked up tightly’ with sheets.  A weighted blanket provides what’s described as ‘deep pressure’ which is found to be calming and comforting especially for children on the Autistic Spectrum as research suggests they seek this deep pressure and want to be covered under several layers. With a weighted blanket, several layers aren’t needed and there is no risk of suffocation etc.

A large specially made heavy bed covering can be used at night to aid sleeping. Many families have said that using weighted blankets has given their child the first uninterrupted night’s sleep of their lives. They can help the child relax and feel comfortable in their bedroom. As well as large blankets there are a range of smaller products and lap pads which are designed for day time use, even in classrooms and at the dinner table. A weighted lap pad is designed to promote calm behaviour, enhance focus and concentration and also allows for further learning and comprehension if used in schools.

This video shows reviews on brand of weighted blankets and shows their uses:


For more info about the weighted blankets for sale on Amazon, click the box above.

Low-Tech Lifesavers: Greeper Shoe Laces

Low-Tech Lifesavers: Greeper Shoe Laces


Searching for “Disabled Shoe laces “? Greeper laces are always tied, useful for top sportsmen and people with disabilities a truly universal design.

With the Paralympics coming up we thought we would feature a neat gadget used by top athletes like World Ironman Champion Chrissie Wellington MBE.

Chrissie Wellington, top sportswoman, running with greeper laces on

Shoelaces as used by top sportswoman Chrissie Wellington MBE

At Living With Disability we were really excited when we first heard about greeper laces as we realised the difference they could make to so many lives. You see, Greeper Shoe Laces carry the tagline ‘One Applied, Always Tied’ and you can adjust, loosen or do anything you need with your shoe laces without every needing to tie and untie them. This really is an innovative, yet simple creation which we had to share.

There are many groups of people living with disabilities who can significantly benefit from Greeper Shoe Laces. Firstly, we thought of those living with a range of learning disabilities which have made tying shoe laces very difficult. In the past, many people living with certain learning disabilities were seen only wearing Velcro shoes but with Greeper Shoe Laces, the range of shoes to choose from is wider and more accessible. Secondly, Greeper Shoe Laces are a great idea for children with autism who frequently remove their shoes, as there’s no need to retie and they can be put back on in seconds. We also believe Greeper Shoe Laces would be a great idea for anybody living with painful conditions such as arthritis which make bending and stretching difficult. You can simple slip your shoes on and off and the laces remain tied. People who are overweight or have back pain can also benefit as the laces remove the need for bending of reaching down to retie them during the day.

Once applied they stay on all day long

Greeper Shoe Laces require a little initial fitting but once it’s done, they’re there to stay. They come in a huge range of colours and two different lengths, so you can fit them in your trainers or boots. The really ‘inclusive design’ wow factor is the fact that they can be used in any shoes or training boots, removing the need to find expensive specialist footwear and allowing athletes to choose the absolutely most suitable shoes for the event. They’re a great help and remove one more of those pesky daily tasks which can become a difficult chore. This informational video shoes exactly how Greeper Shoe Laces work:

Range of Greeper Laces

There are several styles in the Greeper lace range. No matter what the occasion or task, there is a Greeper lace in a style and colour to fit your needs and tastes.

Image of some Greeper laces in a bright neon pink colour

Sports Greeper laces in Neon Pink

Sports Greeper Laces

Greeper Sports laces are ideal for all types of sports shoes. Whether you enjoy tennis, running or golf; the Sports range are an oval type like the ones usually included with running shoes. They are also perfect for school shoes such as smart footwear or plimsoles used for gym.

Sports Greeper Laces are available in the following colours:

  • Neon Green
  • Purple
  • Red
  • Neon Orange
  • Yellow
  • Blue
  • Black
  • Neon Pink
  • White
  • Grey
Image of the brown and beige Greeper laces for hiking boots

Beige and Brown Hiker-style Greeper Laces

Hiker Greeper Laces

Greeper Hiker Laces are ideal for outdoor hiking and walking boots. They are longer than any of the other styles (150cm). This allows for the extra length needed when threading through the eyelets of boots. Greeper Hiker Laces feature a durable yet lightweight nylon toggle with high tension springs. This ensures that your laces will stay tight no matter the incline or conditions.

Hiker Greeper Laces are available in the following colour combinations:

  • Purple/Black
  • Brown/Black
  • Beige/Brown
  • Black/White
  • Pink/Purple
Image of Greeper Execs laces in black

Smart and stylish – Black Greeper Execs laces

Execs Greeper Laces

The Execs range of Greeper Laces are a stylish and formal option for smart shoes and occasions. Perfect for classic men’s shoes, business footwear and both girl’s and boy’s school shoes.
Execs Greeper Laces are available in either Brown or Black.

 

Image of Greeper Flats shoelaces in a bold orange colour.

Modern and Fresh – The Greeper Flats range in Orange

Flats Greeper Laces

The Flats range of Greeper Laces are most popular amongst younger sporting-types. They are 10mm wide, flat laces that are usually found in less-formal sports footwear. They are ideal for pumps and “Converse” skater style footwear, and are available in with either the SureGrip or Sports toggle.

Flats Greeper Laces are available in the following colours:

  • Pink
  • Black
  • White
  • Red
  • Purple
  • Orange
  • Brown

 

At Living with Disability we are particularly excited about this product because it really is a brand new idea and something we think thousands of people could benefit from. If you’re interested in making a purchase, just click in the button below to visit Equipped 4 Life – Equ4l.com – a new boutique store selling the most innovative and inclusive designs available:

Orange button with text "buy at equ4l.com" - click to purchase