Now, here’s a great idea being pioneered by one supermarket in the Asda chain in the UK which is, in turn, a company owned by the giant Walmart group in the US. And, like all the best ideas, it is simplicity itself.
All the supermarket has done is to place a second sign on the door of its accessible restroom for people with disabilities. The sign points out that not all disabilities are visible.
It is certainly a timely reminder to all those tempted to berate someone leaving that room who shows no outward sign of a disability. There are plenty of people with disabilities who are not only able to walk but also show no obvious sign of the disability.
Of course, accessible rooms for people with disabilities should not cause friction between people but just like accessible parking spaces, regrettably, they do. There always seems to be somebody ready to question and criticize – without thinking about invisible or hidden disabilities.
There are many conditions that class as ‘invisible’, including MS in its earlier stages, meaning that a person who may seem able, is fighting his or her disability on the inside. And, because of that situation, such a person has a genuine need to use a n accessible restroom.
In an attempt to put an end to the disapproving stares, the muttering that is designed to be heard by the supposed ‘offender’ and, ultimately, the embarrassing confrontation that can occur, the Asda Monks Cross store in the city of York has accepted the challenge by changing adding the extra sign. Let’s hope that this is the start of something big that is grasped by Asda as a whole and even beyond that one retail company.
Apparently, it was a young girl who has inflammatory bowel disease, an invisible disability, who took a picture of the sign, which reads: ‘Not every disability is visible’, and posted it to Crohn’s and Colitis UK’s Facebook page. It has so far received more than 10,000 likes.
Where you get Facebook ‘Likes’, you also get comments and many have expressed their happiness after seeing the post about the sign.
One person wrote: ‘Finally some recognition for those hidden disabilities, Crohn’s has been my nemesis for years yet I always feel judged for using disabled facilities. Well done Asda.’
And another post read: ‘That’s a great sign. I’ve heard the grumbling public whispering loudly how I shouldn’t be using a disabled toilet.’