ADA Changing Rooms

This morning the Little Angel and I were at the warm water pool for his SI-OT (Sensory Integration Occupational Therapy) via warm water. There are only two ADA (Accessible to disabled) family changing rooms and one generic family changing room at this location. I need to change the Little Angel in one of these enclosed rooms because a) he’s a runner, so I need him in the small enclosed space, b) they have wide, raised-height benches, so I can lay him down for diapering, c) the acoustics of the women’s locker room are too hard on his system and he flips out, d) in addition to the women’s locker room not having benches either wide enough or at the right height for him to safely and comfortably lie down for diapering, the finger pulls on the abutting lockers jut out and poke into him, and e) because he is a boy it is “frowned upon” by others (not me) for him to be naked in the women’s locker room (as if they haven’t all seen a young boy’s penis).

Okay, whatever. I know the Parks + Rec admin is working on new signage for the two rooms to indicate that priority is always to be given to disabled (after a British mother yelled at me in May, in front of the Little Angel and her own daughter, that I don’t know how to read [although she’s the one who missed the universal disabled symbol prominently posted] and told me to “fuck off” — you can bet your bottom dollar I went straight to the top and copied everyone else on this as well). If you are in a public restroom and there is a line, the person in the wheelchair or using canes does NOT have to queue — they get to come to the front and use the stall set aside for them. That’s the way it works. Able-bodied people have to wait in line — I’m able-bodied so I’ll wait. My son isn’t. He doesn’t have to wait.

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Today as we were leaving the room a mother with two small daughters was going to enter, so I gently said “Just a reminder these rooms are first for those of us who are disabled.” She looked at me as if I were insane, so I pointed to the universal symbol (above); she said “Huh, I never noticed that. Oh well, I’ve got twins and that is way harder than having a disabled kid!”

“No it’s not.” It’s just not. It never will be. Quadruplets are not harder than a disabled kid. Multiples are busy and noisy and when they’re babies it’s hard, but no, they’re not harder than a severely disabled child. If your kid is typically developing, no matter how many of them you have it will never be harder than having a child for whom you have to provide everything.

To this she snorted and said “yeah, glad I could rock your world.”

She didn’t rock my world. She did make me think uncharitable, rude thoughts about her. And that puerile, reptilian part of my brain hopes that one of her kids develops a debilitating disability and then I can laugh in her naive, myopic, self-entitled and idiotic face as I push past her into the changing room.

We have so many angels in our lives as a direct cause of our son’s disabilities but goddamn I am so ready to be done with the assholes.

He’s only seven years-old. I have a long road ahead.

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