Have a heart for those with Hidden Disabilities
Claire Fernie with Grace's Sign
On ‘What Matter’s To You’ day we were reminding people that ‘not every disability is visible’ and to have a heart for those with hidden disabilities.
NHS Fife is the first Board in Scotland to pilot an inclusive sign for their accessible toilet facilities at Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy.
Grace’s Sign was created by Grace Warnock from East Lothian when she was just 9 years old, who herself has a hidden disability.
Working in conjunction with the Fife branch of IA, (the Ileostomy and Internal Pouch Support Group), which is a national charity helping people who have undergone digestive surgery, we want to help promote the message of Grace’s Sign, which hopes to raise awareness of those with hidden disabilities who have a genuine need to use accessible facilities but face derogatory comments and disapproval from members of the public.
Claire Fernie, Chairperson of Fife IA explained: “We support using Grace's sign because it is right that people with hidden disabilities are able to use accessible toilets without fear of embarrassment or abuse, or needing to explain or justify why to other members of the public or to staff.
“Often, people are just unaware that others may face difficulties using regular facilities, however, to manage our condition, we can need direct access to a sink, and space to lay out ostomy equipment and to change appliances when using the bathroom.”
Helen Wright, Director of Nursing said: “The introduction of Grace’s Sign is one of a variety of ways our staff is marked What Matter’s To You day.
“Accessible toilets are there for everyone who needs to use them and people should feel assured they won’t be judged or questioned when using them. Grace’s Sign is a simple but effective adaption that will hopefully raise more awareness so that all those who need the facilities won’t be judged or questioned for using them.”