Rethinking the bathroom for adolescents with Cerebral Palsy: an exploratory pilot study addressing privacy and independence

Marie-Claire Bernatchez, Christèle Poirier, Ernesto Morales, Désirée Maltais


Caring for a child with cerebral palsy (CP) at home represents a major challenge and can have a significant impact on the caregiver’s physical and psychological well-being. Caregivers and professionals often feel uncomfortable with adolescents’ emerging behaviours. Adolescents’ need for privacy requires a certain level of independence to be achieved. However, the physical environment may cause problems in achieving the required degree of privacy. The main objective of this study was to explore and identify realistic, evidence-based solutions to promote independence and privacy in the bathroom for teenagers with CP. The authors used a two-stage co-design process: the conception of the design solution, followed by validation. The results of this project demonstrate the need to combine original technical aids and environmental settings to create a safe, hygienic environment for the user. The results can guide therapists in their clinical approach to designing washing facilities that meet the hygiene and psychological needs of other adolescents, adults and seniors with mobility impairments.


Cerebral palsy, adolescents, design solution, bathroom, independence, privacy

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Journal of Accessibility and Design for All. ISSN 2013-7087.

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