Tuesday, 10 January 2012

What Access Is - And Isn't #spartacusreport #disability #access

A few situation I've encountered when it comes to "wheelchair access" and what I'd like to have said in return.

If you've got toilets on the ground floor but not a disabled toilet then don't tell me you've got wheelchair access.

If you had wheelchair access you'd have a disabled loo. A toilet which has no grab rails and which you can get a wheelchair in but not if you want to shut the door is not a disabled loo. So kindly take a moment to stop a think and stop claiming you've got one.

Don't tell me you're really used to dealing with wheelchair users and then tell me you can't do your usual programme with me because of my inability to stand unsupported. If you dealt with as many wheelies as you said my level of disability wouldn't be a barrier and I'd be doing what everyone else does.

Your suggestion that I can travel via London Paddington and save time by taking the tube from there is helpful. As is your telling me that there's partial access in the tube station and my journey is doable. Unfortunately the reason you couldn't convince me is that there's no wheelchair accessible way into the tube station there. Listening to me and letting me get a word in would have saved us both the argument.

I asked if you had accommodation that's adapted. "We have ground floor rooms" isn't an answer. Because adapted means a shower seat, grab rails and being able to get my chair right in the room.

I'm really grateful you've made an arrangement to adapt things for me. But the reason I said I couldn't do that was because I can't. So adding on "unless you want to try the unadapted way that is." is pointless. I'm 30. I've lived with my disability my whole life. I know my abilities and limits. I don't need to be told to try something.

Having one or two steps and a movable ramp makes me think you've thought things through. When I arrive and it turns out one or two is actually seven dotted around the place. And that the ramp is moveable but you won't let my carers move it? I'm going to be pissed off. But not as pissed off as you'll be when I fall out of my chair on one of the steps and cause a bit of a panic.

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