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To think disabled people should have exactly the same facilities as non-disabled people?

(107 Posts)
Sparklysilversequins Sat 05-Apr-14 15:04:19

My children and I belong to Virgin Active. We swim a lot, both kids really enjoy it and it's the one thing they will both do without fuss, exercise wise. Both have ASD, a boy, 11 and a girl, 7. Now here's the problem, ds cannot manage to shower and get dressed alone but at age 11, he cannot accompany me to the women's changing room. The disabled facilities are not great, they are not nearly as nice as the other changing facilities, the shower actually has a toilet in the same room, so it's essentially a shower in a public toilet. Last time we went a cleaner was moaning about all the water on the floor after we had showered. This would never happen in the other changing areas. I've complained and was listened to but nothing has changed.

So today I decided that I would shower ds in the women's shower area and then send him to get dressed only in the disabled changing room (it's fine for that, just nasty for showering). We did this and it worked well though I wasn't comfortable with him getting dressed alone, but I dd and I changed like lightening and went and helped him (takes him a lot longer). So all in all it was fine.

But I am not happy about it. Their disabled facilities are simply not good enough, obviously I have found a way round it but I shouldn't have to should I? we should have the same lovely facilities that everyone else has?

So what would you do? Is there any independent organisation who inspects this kind of thing? I actually laid awake worrying about this last night but like I say luckily my new system worked albeit my son with ASD has to be unsupervised for it to do so, which I don't think is right.

No, they shouldn't have 'exactly the same' facilities as able-bodied people - because in many cases, that would not be usable for a disabled person. For example, exactly the same toilet would be a small cubicle, no extra space, no grab rails, no room for a wheel chair, no emergency button/cord.

But you would be utterly reasonable to say that disabled people's facilities should be of the same quality as all other facilities, and should enable their users to be as independent as possible, preferably as independent as non-disabled people.

Trifle Sat 05-Apr-14 15:07:48

Find another gym.

Sparklysilversequins Sat 05-Apr-14 15:08:39

I should have put exactly the same standard as non-disabled in my thread title but I think the rest of the thread made that clear.

Sparklysilversequins Sat 05-Apr-14 15:09:34

My dc like that one, they're used to it and comfortable there. No small feat in itself for two dc with ASD.

WooWooOwl Sat 05-Apr-14 15:11:19

Yabu to think that disabled people should have exactly the same facilities as able bodied people. The whole point is that they have differing needs and therefore sometimes they need differing facilities, which should of course be provided.

It's a difficult one really, because many disabled people will prefer there being a toilet in the same room as the shower. The room should be just as nice though, with equal quality facilities as the non disabled changing rooms.

I think the biggest problem that stands out in your OP was the rude attitude you got from the cleaner, who should have shown a bit more professionalism and understanding.

BrianTheMole Sat 05-Apr-14 15:12:27

Yeah I think that about our virgin gym. Its a lovely gym, but the disabled facilities are rubbish. They are in the mens or ladies, but that means a person of the opposite sex can't go in and help. Which a real problem.

Sparklysilversequins Sat 05-Apr-14 15:16:04

It's really rubbish isn't it Brian. I just think that as my dc and I pay the exact same amount of subs each month we would expect to be able to use the club as easily as non-disabled members do.

SaucyJack Sat 05-Apr-14 15:24:24

YABU. I used to work in a respite unit for PMLD children, and we would use the loo to sit the children on whilst we got them dried and dressed.

What you actually need is a generic family changing area- not an adapted disabled changing room.

Trifle - "Find another gym." Really. That's your solution to poor facilities for people with additional needs? They should just shut up and go somewhere else? How very inclusive of you. hmm

IAmNotAPrincessIAmAKahleesi Sat 05-Apr-14 15:29:37

It's so hard though to ensure everyone's needs are met, I am disabled and sometimes I just have to accept there are places I cannot access, not through anyone's fault but just because of limits on space, old buildings etc

As a wheelchair user the set up you describe is exactly what I would need, having the toilet and shower seperately would be much more difficult for me. Your needs are different but equally valid so I can see why it's tricky sometimes to design something that meets everyone's needs

Sparklysilversequins Sat 05-Apr-14 15:29:46

I understand that saucyjack but even then they're just not nearly as nice, different materials used, not nearly as well maintained.

The disabled changing room is supposedly the family changing room too, but it's tiny and there's no showers apart from the two disabled ones.

BrianTheMole Sat 05-Apr-14 15:30:35

I know sparkly. I'd really like to take my dh down there to use the pool, but as things are, he can't use the mens or the women's changing rooms, and he can't actually get to the pool without walking through one of them.

Sparklysilversequins Sat 05-Apr-14 15:33:03

I do think that Virgin Active just haven't quite got it with regards to decent facilities for disabled people. I might write to Richard Branson!

NCRegular Sat 05-Apr-14 15:34:00

There are so many needs you maybe need to put in writing to your Gym what your family's particular needs are and ask them to make reasonable adjustments. Maybe the needs you ask are unreasonable?

Sparklysilversequins Sat 05-Apr-14 15:36:01

I don't think they're at all unreasonable. The council run gym and pool where my parents live seem to manage just fine by having a large easily accessible family changing area.

Sparklysilversequins Sat 05-Apr-14 15:37:18

That would sort out your issue as well wouldn't it Brian? A room you could both go in together? How hard can that be to provide?

Dawndonnaagain Sat 05-Apr-14 15:41:34

Find another gym.
Find another forum. hmm

Of course you are not being unreasonable, take it up with them and tell them if they can't sort it you'll be talking to the council. (They license these places and have to check they're accessible and up to standard).

Tweasels Sat 05-Apr-14 15:41:56

I'm really surprised that people think you are being unreasonable confused.

Facilities for disabled people should be of equal quality to the standard facilities. What I often find is that organisations do what is needed to comply with equality legislation but don't actually really think about what disabled people might really want and need. They just do the minimum to tick the box.

NCRegular Sat 05-Apr-14 15:44:14

I mean the reasonable adjustments they made may have used up all their budget or something, I don't know so if you ask them to change it all they may claim some legal loophole says they have provided reasonable adjustments for the disabled at the time they made them and they are not planning on renovation until five years time when they will make the changes you ask, as that is what they budget or what ever allows so it would be considered in LAW as reasonable.

BearsInMotion Sat 05-Apr-14 15:45:01

Our local council gym has a disabled changing area, but no locker. To use the lockers you have to go out of the changing room, past the pool and through the showers! This is a new gym, apparently I'm supposed to ask the assistant who will give me a box that I can leave with the lifeguard! confused

Sparklysilversequins Sat 05-Apr-14 15:50:40

Bears that's awful. This is what I mean, they're supposed to make it as easy as possible but how is THAT easier? Also we already stand out, I don't want us to anymore than necessary. It can be done because other places do it.

I agree that many places adhere to the bare minimum that is legally required, but we certainly don't get the fancy trimmings that non-disabled do.

BrianTheMole Sat 05-Apr-14 15:51:47

Yes sparkly, that would solve the problem completely.

BearsInMotion Sat 05-Apr-14 15:55:20

This is the thing - if the corridors were wider and there was an open area I could use my wheelchair and then access the same lockers and showers as everyone else. This way it's not easy for them or me!

Sparklysilversequins Sat 05-Apr-14 15:58:19

I would love to be an inspector for disabled facilities. I'd be their worst nightmare!

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