#68 - The Need for Adult Sized Changing Tables


Changing Spaces is an advocacy movement bringing adult sized changing tables to public bathrooms. When in need of diapering, individuals with disabilities must be changed on the floor of a public restroom or return home.

In this episode, Christina Abernethy, coordinator of Changing Spaces Pennsylvania, discusses why the need for adult sized changing tables goes beyond hygiene and dignity but also is an inclusion movement. She shares how you, too, can participate in bringing adult sized changing tables to your local community and beyond.

Mentioned in This Episode

  • Christina Abernethy is the founder of  Love, Hope, & Autism and coordinator of Changing Spaces Pennsylvania. Changing Spaces is a movement to build accessible restrooms with adult sized changing tables across communities to promote inclusion.

  • Her advocacy efforts have been well received and the latest win is the Pittsburg Airport. She finds the best time to suggest bathroom changes is during new construction while blue prints are drafted. Another approach, is to see if an adult sized table can be added to existing family style restrooms.

  • Adult sized changing tables hold up to 400 pounds. Due to privacy concerns and space needed, the ideal location for a table is in family style restrooms. 

  • The seed of this advocacy movement is from the United Kingdom where Hoyer Lifts are also provided. In the US, liability issues have slowed inclusion of the lift.

  • This map shows where there are currently adult sized tables

Small and Big Ways to Join the Movement:

  1. Spread awareness of the need via social media. Ideas of things to share include this video, and other posts from the Love, Hope, & Autism Facebook Page

    Use the hashtag #itstimeforchange

  2. Check to see if there is a chapter already working toward change in your state by visiting http://www.changingspacescampaign.com/ 

  3. Keep an eye out for new construction or structures that already have family style restrooms. Begin researching the project or area and make phone calls until the right person who can help is found. Introduce yourself, share the purpose and a bit of your story. Bring up the idea of an adult changing table. Christina finds the response is typically positive. Keep track of contact information and follow up every few weeks to see how you can help. It’s a good idea to share information about the process, measurement requirements, how to order the tables, etc. Max-Ability is a distributor of changing tables by Lee Kaughman. Information about their products can be shared with project managers via website links or brochures.

  4. Advocate to update ADA requirements. Representative Dan Miller in Pennsylvania has been working with Christina on a bill to require certain buildings such as airports, hospitals, malls, sports arenas, conventions centers, highway rest stops, etc to require an adult sized table during significant reconstruction and/or during new construction. Christina shared this petition with Dan Miller and welcomes its use for other advocates wishing to do the same.

Bonus Material

Listen to Kim’s conversation about being a Reluctant Advocate on the Mama Bear Podcast from the January 14, 2019 episode. She shares 5 things she has learned over the years on how to be an advocate without loosing her soul.

This show is part of a 12 episode advocacy series. Listen to other topics in the series via your favorite podcast app or directly on the LOMAH website