Editors Note: The rapid passing of a law designed to discriminate against trans-sexuals will have serious consequences for parents of disabled children, and I would suggest even for parents of non disabled children who need to take children of a different sex into the bathroom with them. Lets hope such stupid law-making does not spread.
North Carolina’s newly-passed House Bill #2 (HB2) — the so-called “bathroom law” which prohibits anyone over the age of 7 from using a public restroom for a gender they weren’t anatomically born into — might have unintended consequences for families with older special needs children.
TODAY Parents asked some of those families what they wish the public knew about the challenges they face in public restrooms in light of this national debate.
Here are some of their answers:
1. Sometimes, disabilities are invisible.
Melissa Sharp, a mother of four in Roseville, California, is usually comfortable with her 12-year-old autistic son, Owen, using a public restroom on his own. But in some situations, she is too uneasy to let him go alone if there isn’t a male family member to accompany him or a family or single restroom available. Then, she takes him into the women’s restroom with her.
Owen is perfectly capable of attending to his needs in a restroom alone, but he is “oblivious to his surroundings all of the time,” Sharp told TODAY Parents. “Owen is literally the real life embodiment of Buddy the Elf: He is naive and innocent and only ever sees the good in everyone,” Sharp said. “He would be such an easy target.”
2. “Family” or “companion” restrooms are often occupied, and not necessarily by those with special needs.
Wendy and Matt Greenawalt of Laurel, Maryland, must sometimes travel great distances with their daughter Nora, 9, who has Down syndrome as well as…