Accessible Toilets

Why do autistic people need Accessible Toilets?

Accessible toilets which support autistic sensory needs are difficult to find in Ireland. Using a public bathroom may pose a challenge for people on the spectrum for several reasons. The challenges are largely sensory.  You can find out more about sensory differences in our e-Book on Autism.

You may be disturbed by the sound of a flushing toilet or a hand dryer. Maybe the feel of the toilet paper, the coldness of the sink water or the noise of an electric hand dryer could bother you. Additionally, if you have higher access needs, you may need to use a changing bench. Going to a school, college, workplace or visiting a shopping centre suddenly becomes far more daunting if you don’t know if the facilities are accessible. It is unreasonable to expect anyone to go through the day without using a bathroom and yet many autistic people may be forced to make that very choice to avoid triggering a meltdown. They may even choose to avoid places relevant to their special interests such as libraries, cinemas and museums for this reason.

How do they work?

Accessible toilets are toilets designed to accommodate people with disabilities. They generally include handrails, an emergency alarm and a higher toilet seat to make standing up easier. An accessible bathroom can also filter out the noise and is much more user friendly. These facilities help give comfort and independence to a host of different people with additional needs.

While accessible bathrooms are traditionally associated with wheelchair users or people with mobility difficulties, there has been greater emphasis on invisible disabilities within advocacy circles. In fact, AsIAm included this as part of our campaign for Autism Month in 2018! Remember that autistic people have just as much a right to use accessible toilets as any other person with additional needs in Ireland. If you meet objection, remind the other person not all disabilities are visible. Inform them that using a toilet which isn’t accessible could cause significant distress and if necessary produce relevant identification

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