The Arizona Tribune

Tucson Families Support Bill Stating Adult-sized Changing Table a Basic Need

There is no doubt that needs change as per time. And with families having a disabled child, the transition becomes a little faster. For many families, a bare minimum has a clean, discreet place to change a child’s diaper and these are things which make it possible for them to be out in the community.

But for families with children who are differently abled, the requirement doesn’t remain the same for days. Their need will change when the child is too big to fit on a conventional changing table.

This is the reason, Tucson parents like Marianne Scott and Amy Weaton want Arizona legislature to pass a law this legislative session requiring newly constructed public buildings, or a public building doing a bathroom makeover of $10,000 or more, to put in changing tables an adult can fit on.

“For us, it’s a basic human need,” said Scott, whose teen daughter has to wear a diaper due to her disabilities.

“Whenever we leave our home, this is a concern that comes up.”

As per Rep. Richard Andrade, a Glendale Democrat, he had sponsored HB 2529 as it seemed a simple fix, a “no-brainer.”

He said that taking care of a teen or an adult child with special disabilities or even taking care of an elderly person with these kinds of disabilities is very tough and challenging for the families. This proposal, according to him, is a step in the right direction to make things easier and simpler.

As per Andrade, the bill could garner unanimous, bipartisan support during the last hearing on the previous week. However, it is now stuck because Rep. Anthony Kern, a Glendale Republican, doesn’t agree with it. Kern, the rules committee chairman, is the man who decides which bill would move forward.

However, on Friday Kern was not available for comment. Andrade said that he also had convinced Kern that the bill would not be affecting small businesses. It should be noted that if the bill does not move forward this week, lawmakers will have to attach this bill to another bill or replace the bill with a fresh one.

However, according to Scott, it is distressful to have had the legislation make it this far and finally moved out.

“I find it interesting that in 2016, most major airports created a place for animals to go to the bathroom,” she said “My daughter is a human being. Why can’t we retrofit a bathroom with a $300 table?”

Weaton’s oldest daughter is 12, and she has become tall and heavy enough not to fit into a child’s table. As per the family, a universal changing table would enable her to be out with her family with much greater ease.

“It’s getting hard and harder to take her with us when we go out,” she said. “This is going to be a lifetime need for us.”

She added that having a table like this in a private, family bathroom would be of much help to the parents with differently abled children.

Nancy Hartman, a Tucson special education teacher, feels that there is a need for adult-sized changing tables in both her professional life as a teacher and personal life as a mother. Her elderly mother has Alzheimer’s disease, uses a wheelchair and is incontinent.

“If we do take her out, our concern is where will we be able to change her,” Hartman said. “We’re always worried about the timing and whether we’re going to make it.”

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