Adult-Size Changing TablesPromoting community inclusion by offering a safe, private, and hygienic toileting option to all Tennesseans
How TN's new adult-size changing tables grants were created
On April 29, 2022, the TN General Assembly voted to invest $1 million to increase access to adult-size changing tables across the state! The Council is grateful to all those who informed their legislators about this important issue.
Because of this advocacy, the following actions are being taken to install new adult-size changing tables across TN.
- The legislature provided $1 million to the TN Dept. of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) to offer grants to community groups and businesses to install adult-size changing tables. The General Assembly doubled the amount that advocates originally requested for the grant program. (Note: the original bill, SB602/HB905, was taken off notice because the goals of the bill were accomplished through the budget process and other partnerships.)
- The Department of Transportation has agreed to install changing tables in all rest areas and welcome centers.
- The Department of Environment and Conservation has agreed to install changing tables in all state parks.
Help with toileting is a common need for adults who are aging or have disabilities and other conditions. Many adults and children need access to changing spaces that are larger than a baby changing table. Everyone deserves a safe, dignified, and clean toileting experience.
Without adult-sized changing tables, Tennesseans who need them must choose between changing in an unhygienic setting – like on a restroom floor – or remaining isolated from the community if they experience incontinence issues.
This issue affects family members, friends and caregivers who want to spend time with their loved ones in the community.
States and localities can expand access to adult-size universal changing tables that can accommodate children AND adults in certain types of public buildings that are newly built or being renovated.
Resources for advocating for adult-size changing tables
- Download this one page overview to help inform people about TN's new adult-size changing tables grant program
- Changing Spaces campaign (national website for the movement to increase access to adult-size changing tables across the U.S.)
- STUDENT ESSAY: No Dignity on the Floor: A Human Rights Argument for Adult-Sized Changing Tables in Public Restrooms in the United States (Health and Human Rights Journal, March 2023) - cites several updates and stories from Tennessee, as well as national policy recommendations
Adult-size changing tables in the news in TN
- Pulaski Citizen - Giles County Improves Community Access With Adult-Size Changing Tables (March 2023) - featuring Council member and 2022 Partners in Policymaking graduate Chrissy Hood
- WJLE Smithville radio station - County Commission Admonished to Obtain Adult-Size Changing Tables (Nov. 2022) - featuring testimony from Sarah Cripps, Council member for the Upper Cumberland development district
- Chattanooga Times Free Press - Tennessee to install first of many adult changing tables in state rest areas (August 2022)
- The Chattanoogan - Universal Table Installed In A Special Designated Family Restroom At Camp Jordan (June 2022)
- News Ch. 9, Chattanooga - Community action: Grants becoming available to make TN public restrooms more inclusive (May 2022)
- News coverage about a new adult-size changing table at the Adventure Science Center in Nashville, TN: News Channel 5 Nashville - Family pleads for adult-sized changing tables for those with disabilities; TN Tribune - Adventure Science Center to Host Unveiling for Adult-Sized Changing Table (March 2022)
- Op-ed in The Tennessean - Adult-size changing tables offer needed convenience, dignity by Phil Garner, Executive Director of Buffalo River Services, a disability services provider in Waynesboro, TN (March 2022)
- Op-ed in The Tennessean and other papers - Adult-size changing tables can provide community access for my family and others by Alison Bynum, Council on Developmental Disabilities member for Mid-Cumberland Development District (Jan. 2022)
- News Ch. 24, Memphis - "Ransom Note: It's a rare sight but there's a bill in Tennessee's legislature that actually makes sense" by Richard Ransom (March 2021)
- News Channel 9, Chattanooga - It's about dignity: New TN bill aims to promote disability inclusion in public restrooms (March 2021)
- Op-ed in The Tennessean - "True Accessibility Means Dignity in Public Restrooms" by Chrissy Hood, Council on Developmental Disabilities member, South Central TN Development District (Jan. 2021)
- Article in the Council's magazine Breaking Ground - "True Accessibility Means Dignity in Public Restrooms" by Chrissy Hood, Council on Developmental Disabilities member, South Central TN Development District (May 2020)