Last Tuesday the United States Senate voted on an historic piece of legislation. Known to the public as the UN Disabilities treaty, the document borrows wording and spirit from the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The treaty has so far been signed by 155 nations throughout the world; a list which unfortunately does not include the United States, where the vote fell just short of the two thirds majority required to ratify the treaty. And although the treaty can be voted on again in the next year’s congress, for the one in six Americans that are disabled, that’s too long.
By United nations estimates, there are over 600 Million people worldwide who live with disabilities; in the United States that number is an astounding 54 million.
Some of the challenges which people with disabilities face are obvious. Staircases can be bypassed via elevator; closer parking spots can make getting into places easier. Some of the challenges however might not cross your mind. One of the most entrenched of challenges facing people with disabilities is something able bodied people can easily take for granted, bathroom access.
After all who among us would go to a football game if there were no bathrooms? or a graduation? How about a theme park or a movie theater? How often would you go out if you had to return home to go to the restroom? It was in light of these questions that Wilmot Modular and the Maggie’s Light Foundation created the EasyGo™ Wheelchair Accessible Family Changing Room.
“This small and creative solution will make outdoor events like fairs, festivals, and parks instantly accessible for those who have otherwise been constrained to staying home. It will open up whole new worlds of community involvement, experience, and enjoyment.” Christopher Smith, Director of the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities at Kennedy Krieger Institute
The key word here is family. The EasyGo(tm) is wheelchair accessible and contains an adult sized changing table, allowing individuals with severe mobility issues to use the bathroom in the same privacy and dignity that we all enjoy. With the ability to use the restroom privately, people with special needs can enjoy a freedom which they’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere. Just as vitally their families and caregivers can too. The world gets so much bigger when you’re not tethered to your house.
“For me, the EasyGo™ is the solution to the isolation many Maryland families experience by not being able to participate in community and social events due to the non-existence of adequate restroom facilities.”
– Mary Anne Breschi, Director of Maggies Light Foundation
The freedom granted by safe accessible bathroom facilities is immense. It’s about more than shopping or event attendance, it’s about community. It allows people with special needs to see and be seen, bringing us closer together and opening a dialogue about the reality of the special needs community. Recently the EasyGo(tm) made an appearance at Kennedy Krieger’s Festival of Trees at the fairgrounds in Timonium, Md. With a bathroom they could use, the event became open and inviting to the special needs community.
We hope that there will come a day when the needs of people with disabilities are fully met and they can enjoy the same freedoms as the rest of us. We believe the EasyGo ™ is a big step toward that freedom, but the fight is long from over. Until then we can only do our best to care for those in our society who need it the most.
– Buddy Cosner, Wilmot Modular Structures