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Woman Slams The State Of Public Bathrooms After Having To Change Her Disabled Daughter On Bathroom Floors And In Parking Lots

(PA Real Life/Collect)

An outraged mother has condemned the “undignified" state of public toilet facilities, which have prevented her from enjoying a family day out with her severely disabled daughter for nearly seven years.


Full-time carer Susanne Crosby, 52, of Brighton, East Sussex, and her husband Andy, 55, a service manager with Age UK, abandoned day trips when their daughter Mia, now 13, was seven after being forced to change her on the public toilet floor.

Diagnosed with the rare genetic disorder Rett Syndrome, which affects brain development causing severe mental and physical disability, when she was two-and-a-half, Mia is also incontinent and needs changing every few hours.

Susanne and Mia playing (PA Real Life/Collect)

But inadequate toilet facilities have seen her parents being forced to change her in car parks, in the boot of the car or on the floor of public toilets.

Susanne, a former local authority senior manager, said:

“We've stopped going to places that Mia loves because of having to change her on the floor. Nobody wants to be on the floor of a public toilet."

“It's horrible, it's heartbreaking. There should be dignity for Mia."

Mia smiling (PA Real Life/Collect)

She continued:

“It should be a human right for everybody to be able to use the toilet with dignity."

Recalling the trip to a local zoo when Susanne finally threw in the towel, she said that the lack of public conveniences, particularly for disabled people, had put huge restrictions on their family life.

She said:

“I will never forget the trip to the zoo when Mia was seven and I just thought, 'I can't do this.'"

She continued:

“I just wasn't prepared to change her on the floor anymore."
“We've been in situations where we've had to change her outside on benches, in the car park or actually in the car, with friends holding their coats up to try and maintain Mia's dignity. It's awful."

Susanne and Andy, who has two children from a previous marriage, said it can make going on holiday a logistical nightmare.

Mia enjoying the sun (PA Real Life/Collect)

Susanne explained:

“We always have to hire a car – making the holiday more expensive – so we can change her in it, then we have to make sure we can find somewhere private to do it."
“Going out takes a whole lot of planning. Andy and I have to make sure we change her right before we go out."
“If I'm going out with her on my own, I can only go for a couple of hours and I just have to hope she doesn't need changing. Two and a half hours is the maximum we can be out. If you get stuck in traffic then you cut the trip down. It's really tricky."

Susanne, Andy and Mia (PA Real Life/Collect)

She continued:

“We can't go out for a day. I'd love more than anything to be able to go out for a day and not worry, like any other family."
“And I keep thinking of all the things she's missing out on. If we go out and go on anything that jiggles like little trains or rides it can make it worse. But I see Mia looking at the other children and at what she's missing out on and it's heart-breaking."

Even though most public places have disabled toilets, Susanne said they still only cater for people who are able to move and lift themselves on to the seat, rather than for those who need a changing table, like Mia, who is now too big to use a baby changer, making the whole process very difficult.

“It's time for businesses to put people before profit and put in adult changing tables. It would make such a difference for people like Mia," said Susanne.

Looking back to when Mia's difficulties first started, her mum recalled her heartbreak when she realized that, after hitting all her milestones until she was about 18 months old, she had started to regress.

Now unable to feed herself, play by herself, or walk, she has to rely on a wheelchair and is incontinent – needing to be changed every few hours.

Mia smiling (PA Real Life/Collect)

Susanne said:

“I was in complete denial looking back. As far as I was concerned she was my child and was perfect."
“All the health professionals were saying there was something wrong from about a year and a half, because part of the whole thing with Rett Syndrome is that there's normal development up until about that age."
“Then they start losing everything that they've got. You don't know anything is wrong, because it's so gradual. It's like watching the hands of a clock move."

Susanne and Mia on holiday (PA Real Life/Collect)

She continued:

“She can't do anything for herself. She needs help with personal care, she can't walk, she has a wheelchair and a home chair that goes up and down."
“We now have eye gaze technology, so she can communicate. It's more 'locked in' than people realize. There's a lot more going on, but she can't communicate it. She's a lot less learning disabled and can understand a lot of things."
“She can't eat or drink or play by herself. Any play we have to do with her, whether that's painting or Play-Doh. She needs someone with her all the time."

But the family say the changes they are asking for are very possible as, thanks to the Changing Places campaign which launched in 2006 calling for better facilities for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, 300 toilets with extra room, hoists and changing benches have been installed across the UK.

One site where facilities have been installed is Andy's beloved Brighton and Hove Albion football stadium, meaning it is one of the few places where he can still take Mia.

Susanne said:

“Andy and Mia love going to football games together. She is very sociable and loves spending time with people and seeing friends. She lights up."

Susanne and Mia (PA Real Life/Collect)

She added:

“I'm in awe of her ability to accept everything and be happy."
“But I'd really like for her to have more opportunities to do things. I want to see her laugh more."
“She used to laugh a lot more but now she doesn't get the chance to do things that really make her laugh and that's very sad."

Mia playing the drums (PA Real Life/Collect)

Susanne has been campaigning with the Disabled Children's Partnership, a coalition of more than 60 disabled children's charities, which has launched a 'Give it Back' campaign, calling for funding to be returned to services that help families care safely for disabled children.

The campaign highlights that, due to local authority cutbacks, children are missing out on essential services and enduring poor quality support, which means their health is suffering.

Amanda Batten, Chair of the Disabled Children's Partnership, said:

“Services for disabled children have never been perfect. But cuts to budgets combined with a 33 per cent increase in the number of disabled children over the last decade means we have reached a critical point – one where we need to decide what kind of country we want to be. We're talking about some of the most vulnerable children in society."

Andy, Mia and Susanne (PA Real Life/Collect)

“Medical advances have enabled us to keep children alive that years ago wouldn't have survived and diagnosis is better."

A Local Government Association spokesman said:

“Councils are doing everything they can to keep public toilets open and this includes running community toilet schemes, which enable local businesses like pubs, restaurants and shops to make more clean, safe and accessible toilets available to the public."
“Faced with an £8 billion ($10 billion) funding gap by 2025 and growing demand pressures on adult social care, children's services and homelessness support, councils have had to make tough choices about how to manage dwindling resources. It is vital that the Spending Review fully funds councils to provide local services for our communities."

We're all self-conscious about something, and it doesn't help when our faults get thrown in our faces. You don't want doctors hinting that something is "weird down there," nor do you want someone to tell you you're balding. WE KNOW.

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Hmmmm, I don't think THAT'S your essay....

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When you know your kids backwards and forwards, this is the best tool in your arsenal.

Getting our kids to listen to us is not always the easiest of tasks. They're willful and stubborn, but we've got a mighty weapon they are rarely prepared for: reverse psychology. Getting them to convince themselves to want to do something against their own initial intentions takes some work and a whole lot of creativity, but a little sneaky manipulation goes a long way. Here are some clever parents' tricks that are definitely worth taking notes on.

Redditor u/LeanderD Asks:

Parents of reddit, what's your best example of reversed psychology on your kids that actually worked?

He Floated His Idea Through A Back Channel

Giphy

Wanted to name my boat. Anything I would think of was dismissed as stupid by my 13 year old son. After deciding on a name, I confided to a male friend my son liked. Made my friend suggest the name as though it was his idea. My son thought the name was perfect. Done.

calypsodweller

We Always Want What We Can't Have

One of my best friends through childhood used to be punished with no salad if she misbehaved. She cherishes salad now and would always try to eat as much as possible during school lunch. Coincidentally, her now husband used to be punished with no books, it had the same effect. I think it's hilarious that they'd be hitting the salad bar and library like some black market their narc parents couldn't reach hahaha.

cookiearthquake

A Deceit That's A Cut Above The Rest

Giphy

Don't know if this counts, but, at my high school (private, boys only) in the 1960's, they made a big deal about how long your hair was, and would occasionally order a boy to go home and "get a haircut".

I thought it was stupid, until years later, a master confided to me at a reunion that the policy was deliberate. The school figured we'd spend so much energy rebelling about hair length, that we would ignore other aspects of teenage rebellion. (Not?) Surprisingly, they were mostly right.

FrankDrakman

Damn! That's smart. Wow.

fangxx456

Oh they don't like long hair?

I'll show them. I'll grow my hair out as lon- what?! No I don't want to go "party"? I gotta try out this horse shampoo.

DankeyKang11

The Forbidden Book

Hi I was a victim,

There was a forbidden book that I was not allow to read on the shelf. My parents said I could only read it if I behave myself.

It was summer holidays and I was playing games all day (after 6 hrs of summer homework). One day I was home alone and had the opportunity to grabbed it. I read like half of it in one go. It was 5000 years of Chinese history.

Safe to say I was bamboozled.

oddstodd

Flowers Of The Queen

My parents always told me my broccoli were the flowers of the queen and that I really shouldn't eat them, or else the queen would get very upset! I, of course, ate the whole broccoli in a few seconds.

Subwoofy

I'm telling the queen and she's gonna be pissed

draculacletus

Sleeping Beauty

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I taught my kids when they were toddlers that no amount of yelling, shaking or hitting can wake a sleeping adult. The only thing that works is a gentle hug and/or a nice kiss on the cheek.

Edit: Probably needed some more details for the reverse psychology aspect to be clear. It went something like this - Step one, tell the kids I'm going to sleep and nothing they do will wake me (head buried face down is the safest position). Step two, after the initial onslaught dies down pretend to awaken on your own. Tell them you got a bit of nap left in you and nothing can wake you, especially not hugs and kisses.

DrMethusael

Holy sh*t...if my daughter woke me up like this I would buy her a pony.

All-Seeing_Elon

I am saving this comment because this will save lives if I ever have kids, stg.

smerter

A Walk In Someone Else's Shoes.

Split custody with my ex. When my son was around 10, he visited two weekends a month. I was waiting tables and didn't have a huge amount to spend, but he was so needy from divorce (and I'm not blaming him, it was ugly), he begged constantly for MORE when he was with me. Whatever more was, it didn't matter... he'd be eating ice cream cone and begging for teriyaki.

I finally realized that he just felt empty, and getting MORE whatever from me wasn't filling him up. His next visit I handed him $100 in cash and told him it was our food/fun budget for 3 days and two nights, and he was in charge of it. I bought him his own wallet to carry. We figured out how many times we were going to eat and what we were going to do, and he paid. He got to keep whatever money he had left...thought he was rich...then realized just how much everything cost. Well. Shoe on other foot then. If we had no money for food, we ate leftovers - and I didn't contribute more to pot. After a few weekends of running short or not getting something he actually wanted because he was foolish with funds, he started to really think about how to spend that money. He budgeted and kept to his budget. And a few times he actually went home with a little cash for his private stash.

Many years later, he thanked me for this. It really changed the way he thought about money and love.

Augumenti

This Is Worth Giving A Shot

Took my 3 year old son to one of those doctor's visits where he was going to get a shot. He was worried about the shot on the whole drive over, almost to the point of tears. We get to the doctor's office and a nurse subtly lets me know that my son is not just scheduled for 1 shot, but 5 of them in the same visit.

I turn to my son with an exaggerated smile and tell him, "Good news! They figured out how to take that one big shot you were going to get and instead break it up into these 5 little tiny shots so it won't hurt nearly as much!"

You could see the relief wash over his face. He stopped squirming and relaxed completely. He took the first shot and even smiled and said "It's true! The small ones don't hurt!"

We actually made it through the third shot before the effect wore off and reality kicked in. Still... I counted it as a victory.

blackbird77

Put This To The Taste

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My mom would tell me she only lets me eat soup after candy and she'd only buy me candy that i didn't like. After a few times, i stopped trying and begged her to let me eat soup first. She gave me a smirk and told me go ahead. This doesn't sound as evil as it was. But trust me i suffered.

turkeypr0

So what was the candy?

Poster_Main

Mint chocolate, raisins, stuff like that. I still hate them to this day. Who the f--- thought while eating chocolate "hmm id like some tooth paste with this."

turkeypr0

This is Truckin' Awesome

Mum had sworn a bit around the house.

When 4, while out at the supermarket, I said F word really loudly.

Very quickly and intently, she asked if I had just said "Truck" and said that was a bad word and not to ever say Truck like that again.

I thought that was the bad word so used that when being naughty.

GodOfTheThunder

The "Silly Mom" Routine

The "Silly Mom" routine.

My kid, and a few other kids I've known, would balk at getting ready to go. I'd grab their clothes and say, "Well, if you won't put on your clothes, I guess I'll put on your clothes. Cute shirt, by the way! Does it go on my foot?"

NO!

"Does it go on my head?"

NO! IT GOES ON ME!

"Oh, that's right, thanks! So, it must go on your legs, right?"

NO!

"I just can't figure this out! Where does this adorable shirt go?"

[kid grabs shirt and puts it on] ON MY TUMMY! SILLY MOM!

"Oh, thank you so much! Now what about these pants? Shirts go on tummies, so...the pants go on the tummy, too, right?"

NO!

[continue until kids have dressed themselves]

I would also do things like hand the kid my keys and say, "Alright, you're driving, I'll sit in the booster seat in back," attempt to feed the kid by putting a spoon up to his ear or his belly button, and attempt to put away his toys in the refrigerator.

insertcaffeine

Some Foot For Thought.

Giphy

My mum would always yell at us "if you don't do X, you have to go to bed without socks!"

I never wore socks anyway, and I'm ashamed to admit that this worked.

Splittsky

That would work really well on my son, or make him cry for a really long time... He's 3 and over the last few weeks has decided that he is fully unable to sleep without socks on.

PJQueen

Toddlers man. Completely unpredictable.

SheaRVA

I'm Greens With Envy

My mum had a friend that would put vegetables on her own plate and not the kids.

When the kids asked she would be reluctant to share, "that's grown up food. But I suppose I can let you have a little."

Her kids grew up loving vegetables.

I sat at the dinner table for 3 hours staring at the yucky cauliflower I refused to eat.

laik72

This reminds me of an instance when my child convinced my wife and myself to change our plans for dinner. We were in a grocery store to pick up something quick and easy to eat that we wouldn't have to prepare. Our daughter, wanted none of that, she demanded that she wanted a salad from the salad bar. We started to argue back, but then realized: "Our child demands that we feed her vegetables for dinner instead of a microwaved meal, why are we saying 'No?'"

We had salad for dinner that night.

Galaxy_Ranger_Bob

The Power Of Choice

I don't so much know if you would call it reverse psychology, but I didn't realize it until my dad told me this.

When there were chores that needed doing, he noticed if he asked me to mow the lawn, I would complain and procrastinate. But if he asked would I rather mow the lawn or wash the windows, I'd pick one and just get it done.

Shattered my brain when he told me when I was in my twenties. I use it when I'm coaching or baby sitting all the time and it almost never fails.

AppealToReason16

The Boy Who Cried 'Ouch'

Giphy

I've done this one with tens of kids. Any time a kid gets "hurt" (falls down on grass, gets gently hit in the face with a ball, etc.) instead of stopping the activity to pick the kid up and see if they're ok you just scoot them off to the side and resume. Within 10 seconds of not getting all the attention and seeing the fun is resuming they pop right back up and are magically healed.

This of course is only for the "injuries" that aren't actually injuries.

pedanticProgramer

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