restrooms are important for visitors with visible and non-visible
disabilities, or with other words for people living with “special
needs”. These restrooms allow people with special needs to
visit museums, parks, theaters, libraries and other public
places. Family style,
unisex, or single-user restrooms (often called handicapped
restrooms) offer flexibility: males or females, and one or more
individuals (i.e. family members), of the same or opposite sex, can
use them. They can also provide such amenities as two toilets,
one for adults and one for children, and a changing table. People with visible physical
disabilities are not the only users of single-stall handicapped
single-stall washroom (whether it is called family style or
handicapped washroom) provides a higher level of privacy than the
multi-stall public restrooms and it provides a solution for people
with shy-bladder and those in the transgendered community.
addition, people using an ostomy pouch often prefer the additional access space and
increased privacy of a unisex restroom.
ADDRESSED BY ADAAG
Sometimes a key is required to open
the single-stall restroom, so the user has to find the person in
charge with the key. If the restroom is marked as a handicapped
washroom and the person requesting the key has special needs, but in
the form of a non-visible handicap, the person in charge of the key
can make the situation very uncomfortable by asking for
justification; and therefore we recommend an unlocked special needs
facility policy with a sign preventing misuse (please see details
Long waiting can occur if only a single-stall restroom is available
without having a multi-stall washroom by its side.
Wheel chair users
People who need assistance when using
People living with ostomy
(Shy-Bladder or Bashful Bladder Syndrome)
Parents with children of the opposite
All users by having an additional
option to use a toilet (i.e. while the multi-stall restroom is
Persons (see NY lawsuit in
- Vision Impaired
A properly signed
single user family restroom should be included with separate gender
multi-stall toilet facilities.
The symbol or sign
on the door should indicate family, handicap as well as single user
availability for those with special needs.
We promote the unlocked
with a sign preventing misuse. A
special needs statement would make it clear that the facility is not
for the general public, but for those with special needs.
We recommend the
use of the following statement:
“This restroom is intended only
for those with special needs”,
If locking the
special needs facility is unavoidable, we recommend instructing the
security personal to hand over the key without asking for
Our intent is also to
raise awareness that the term “special needs” can be associated with
a wide variety of
Braille inscriptions enable vision-impaired people to locate
public toilets and the various fixtures with the facilities.
Excerpts from the
Imperatives Collide: Handicap Bathrooms
If you've ever wondered whether it's okay
to use stalls designated for handicapped patrons in a public
bathroom ...All Things Considered, 1/22/06
...Fathers are in a
terrible spot when it comes to using public restrooms with young
daughters. I've noticed that more institutions are responding to
this by installing "family" bathrooms, in addition to men's and
women's rooms ...
syndicated columnist Amy Dickinson Chicago Tribune 9/25/'05
then, he’s coped with obstacles such as
requiring his wife’s help for simple tasks like
using a restroom. Because family restrooms aren’t available, his
wife guides his wheelchair into the women’s restroom. “It’s a
little uncomfortable but I can’t help it,” she explained. “I
have to do things he needs done.”
Murfreesboro TN Post 7/30/07
Family, unisex, or
single-user restrooms ... ...offer flexibility: males or females can
use them, and one or more individuals, of the same or opposite sex,
can use them. Examples are a caregiver and child, and a person with
a disability, alone or with assistance.
Assoc. Science-Technology Centers - Accessible Practices
Exchange June '03
Florida Sun-Sentinel M.S. Bingham 10/16/05
Transgender people won the right to use any restroom operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority
after a lawsuit
Associated Press 'MTA settles case...'
MICH - Detroit Free Press 'World Series notebook - Potty parity at Busch'