Adult-Size Changing TablesPromoting community inclusion by offering a safe, private, and hygienic toileting option to all Tennesseans
Updates on adult-size changing tables in TN
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.
Later this summer, DIDD will begin accepting applications for the grant program – subscribe to our newsletters to be notified when the program starts.
Talk to businesses in your local community where you would like to see new changing tables installed and encourage them to apply for the grant.
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
- Universal Changing Tables SB602/HB905 state legislation
- Download this resource for advocating for adult-size changing tables in your own local community (version with comparison table between models)
Adult-size changing tables in the news in TN
- 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)