5 and a half years ago our world changed as our beautiful little daughter arrived into the world. Today’s post is by guest blogger and special needs campaigner, Lorna Fillingham
Same as it is for everyone else we were thrown into the maelstrom of having a new little person to look after with all the sleepless nights and feeds as everyone would expect.
As the months went by though there was a dawning realisation that not everything was going to plan with our little girl, she wasn’t hitting her milestones, was unable to sit and so the inevitable referral to a paediatrician was made, and we were told that she has global development delay and that no-one could predict her prognosis.
So, now to the present time, my daughter, is now 5. She remains non-verbal and she is still unable to weight-bear. But she shines her light wherever she goes. I wouldn’t change my daughter for the world but a while ago I realised that the world needs to change for my daughter.
Which is why, I find myself here, writing these words.
A few months ago I started campaigning to see if I could improve disabled toilet facilities.
You see my daughter is unable to sit on a loo, and also unable to tell us when she needs to go, so she is still in nappies. And nowadays she is beginning to outgrow the baby change facilities that I’ve relied on for the last few years. And so now, more and more often I’m having to change her on public toilet floors when we’re out and about.
Now I don’t want this for my child, and I would think nobody wants this for their child.
Let’s face it, our children are more likely to have lowered immune systems and/or invasive equipment such as feeding tubes or catheters so the last place they should be is on a toilet floor… I live in the UK so I wrote to my local MP, who in turn wrote to Government ministers, asking that planning permission laws be changed and that Changing Places toilets (with changing benches and hoists and space for carers) should be made compulsory in new public buildings.
I set up an online petition, which is still available to sign, I have had my views broadcast on local radio stations and I’ve appeared on our local news station. I’m beginning to see results, currently on a local level.
My local council have agreed to try and tighten up planning permission laws by Christmas so that slowly we should get more brand new Changing Places throughout the county.
But they’ve also decided to go further and are currently looking at 20 existing public toilet facilities to see which ones would be appropriate to turn into a Changing Places loo, as well as looking at 7 local developments that are in the pipeline to see if a Changing Places toilet can be incorporated into their plans.
I nearly did a song and dance when I heard of all of this.
As for UK wide, I’m still waiting on replies from those Government ministers, but if they fail me I’m planning to take on each and every council, because if one can do it so can all the rest.
Here’s to making the world a better and brighter place for all of our children.
For more information about Changing Places visit www.changing-places.org
If you live in the UK you can sign Lorna’s petition here
To find out more about the Firefly Garden campaign Space to Change to improve toilet facilities visit our campaign pages.
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