A few days ago, I talked a bit about invisible disability and the access issues that people seem to just not think about. Today I’ve been reading the Blogging Against Disablism Day posts at Diary of a Goldfish. Tokah has a post up at From Where I’m Sitting:“Universal Design… not!”. Her rant shouldn’t be revelatory, but it is.
Tokah parents a six month old girl, and has been unable to find childcare equipment that has been designed with wheelchair accessibility in mind. Change tables are an exercise in pain, highchairs are unusable, strollers are useless, and cots:
If the side is up, I can’t reach over it. If its down, it blocks me from getting close enough to reach into the crib.
I poked around the web a little. It returned few pages, mostly from the UK, talking about childcare assessments for parents with disabilities. Almost all of the equipment links I followed led to equipment for parents with sensory disabilities, like baby monitors for Deaf parents. did find this one off-the-shelf wheelchair babycarrier. Just one.
It seems most parents are left to either try to adapt themselves to clunky, inaccessible equipment, or to get someone to custom-make items like this accessible cot. (How many adapted items meet written national safety standards, I wonder?)
This is a problem that should be trivially solvable. But it just hasn’t occurred to manufacturers that a person who uses a wheelchair might be a parent. Or that a parent might just be someone who uses a wheelchair. Or it has, but they can’t spin enough cash from it. Sheesh.