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Thank You to the Businesses that Think About the Disabled Community

Family 7

Before I entered the world of autism, I was oblivious to a lot of things.

I foolishly assumed that all kids went to restaurants, and used public restrooms and even transitioned from riding in a cart to walking.

I didn’t know that some children are deathly afraid of automatic flushing toilets and hand dryers.

I didn’t know that some parents are unable to go into gas stations or even go through drive thrus.

But the biggest thing that I never even gave a second thought too…was public restrooms. It never crossed my mind that one day I would be bringing an adult man into the bathroom and helping him.

My son will most likely never be able to safely go into a public mens restroom by himself. Let that sink in. It is way too dangerous. He wouldn’t know what to do and I could never let him out of my sight.

I’ve even had an older gentleman, with two adult autistic son’s say to me…sternly…never, ever, ever send a vulnerable person into a public restroom alone. That has stuck with me. And scared me to death.

So for now, I bring him into the women’s restroom with me. At almost 11 years old, this is not as easy as it was when he was 3 and 4. We hardly fit in a stall together and I won’t entertain the idea of standing their with the stall door open.

And some day, he will be 6 feet tall. And some day after that, I will be in my 70’s, bringing my vulnerable son to the bathroom.

I want to give the hugest, biggest, loudest thank you to any business that puts in a family or companion care restroom. Thank you.

You have no idea…or maybe you do know…that parents like me worry and just wait for some person to say something awful to us. I know it’s coming. Trust me. I am a realist.

I also know he is going to duck under the stall. I know he is going to scream at the hand dryer. I know people are going to stare. And I get that. We stand out. I need to learn to accept that.

But the comfort and peace of mind that a family restroom offers is greater than words.

So, thank you. And if you don’t have one yet, please consider putting one in. You will get some major love and respect from the disability community.

Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook, subscribe for exclusive videos, and subscribe to our newsletter.

Kate Swenson

Kate Swenson lives in Minnesota with her husband Jamie, and four children, Cooper, Sawyer, Harbor and Wynnie. Kate launched Finding Cooper's Voice from her couch while her now 11-year-old son Cooper was being diagnosed with autism. Back then it was a place to write. Today it is a living, thriving community of people who want to not only advocate for autism, but also make the world a better place for individuals with disabilities and their families. Her first book, Forever Boy, will be released, April 5, 2022.

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