Raising awareness

Will you help Morgan and others like him?

Adapted housing

photo of 'step free route' sign "step free route" photo by Yomex Owo

Despite recent improvements in UK buildings policy, the vast majority of housing stock is unsuitable for wheelchair users. Necessary adaptations often include:

  • Widening doorways
  • Providing ramped access - into the house and within multi-level gardens
  • Facilitating sufficient single-level (downstairs) accommodation - this may include sacrificing a reception room to create a downstairs bedroom, for example
  • Replacing stepped thresholds (e.g. UPVC doorways with a raised frame at the bottom) with level
  • Providing sufficient parking for carers (particularly important in congested city areas)

Pressures on land prices have driven builders to cram more housing onto the same footprint. This means fewer bungalows and more multi-floor housing, with three-storey housing becoming an increasingly common option in the UK. This housing is rarely built such that a wheelchair user could access more than one floor.

We are not aware of a single charity focusing on this area. Rather several charities consider the problem, within their duties to their beneficiaries.

At the local government level, much policymaking is discretionary. Campaigners can therefore achieve significant improvements by contacting local councillors and planning officers, and reminding them of accessibility needs.

General rant: is there any reason why disability adaptations can’t be attractive?


diagram of a pregnancy involving TTTS TTTS pregnancy,
by Kevin Dufendach

Morgan and James are survivors of Twin-to-Twin-Transfusion syndrome. This condition can only occur in identical twin pregnancies and involves incomplete splitting of the placenta. This means that some blood, carrying oxygen and nutrion flows from one twin to the other, instead only from mother to baby. This effectively means that one of the twins receives secondhand blood.

Mo and James were born in 2004. Medicine has improved since then, but treatment (e.g. laser therapy remains risky and expensive. Without help, there is a very serious risk that one or both babies will die before birth - or even if they survive, they may be extremely unwell and/or disabled. TTTS babies tend to be delivered prematurely and are often sicker than other babies born prematurely. More work is needed to improve survival rates and outcomes.

If you are concerned about this condition, please consider supporting the Twins trust TTTS Appeal. There are several Facebook support groups you may wish to connect with, if affected by this condition personally.