Restrooms: Accessibility Guidelines

Descriptive information and ADA requirements about accessibility and restrooms can be found in Accessible Faith(PDF, 54 pages: see pages 24-25).

Room deodorizers make restrooms toxic environments for many people with multiple chemical sensitivities.

There are many brands of unscented soaps available. Some are liquid soaps that can be put in your soap dispenser.

Guidelines for accessible restrooms can be found in many internet sites, many books, and from your local independent living center.

Accessibility is a journey—and a ramp without an accessible restroom is not close to the end of the journey. How would you feel if you were invited to a place where there was no restroom for you to use? Remember the days of the "Whites Only" restrooms? How welcoming are we when we don't provide accessible restrooms for people who come to our house of worship?

Please put yourself in the wheelchair, and think of how welcome you would feel under these circumstances. There are many unpleasant restroom stories from people who use wheelchairs. Here is a quoted comment from a UU who uses a wheelchair, when asked about restrooms. It pretty much sums up the comments:

“It's important for any building or group to express the limits of its accessibility. For example, many places that advertise as Wheelchair Accessible may have an entrance flush to the ground, wide aisles, whatever, BUT they have been known to overlook impossibly narrow restroom entrances or those with short right-angle turns and/or heavy doors; many keep their wastebaskets right at the door (they need to be moved for a wheelchair to maneuver). And there is always the question of the size of the stall—even if it's "designated," many of them will not accommodate a chair, allow for transfer, have the toilet seat too low, etc., have old-fashioned hard-to-reach, hard-to-push flush handles. Sinks, soap, towels, etc are often hard or impossible to reach independently... I could go on and on."

Please take these comments to heart. Please think of yourself in a wheelchair, think of yourself extremely sensitive to fragrances—and think of how welcome you would feel under these circumstances.