START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x

Handicapped Parking: A Guilt-Free Zone

Handicapped Parking: A Guilt-Free Zone

One of the most universally recognized symbols is that of the handicapped parking space. We all recognize the blue wheelchair and what it means… but not all handicapped people use wheelchairs.

There’s nothing quite so irritating as watching a perfectly healthy-looking person step out from a handicapped parking space and stroll into the store. But things are not always as they seem.

People with multiple sclerosis often appear healthy and strong even though they have difficulty walking for any length of time. Problems with fatigue, stamina, balance, and coordination can interfere with daily activities, but there are tools at our disposal that can make normal daily errands much easier. One of those is the handicapped parking placard.

If you have difficulty walking or standing for more than a few minutes, you might want to consider applying for a placard. The ability to park close to a place of business or shopping center could make all the difference in the world when it comes to maintaining a sense of independence.

How to get a handicapped placard or license plate:

- The information you need, along with the application, are available online from the Department of Motor Vehicles in your state. Details may vary from state to state.

- You may request a temporary placard (used for injuries or illnesses which are expected to heal) or a permanent one (used for permanent disabilities). A physician’s signature is required.

- Choose the license plate or the placard that hangs from the rear view mirror. The placard is more versatile– you can carry it with you and use it in any vehicle– and is legal throughout the country.

What you should know about your handicapped placard:

- It is illegal to lend your placard to anyone else for any reason and can result in heavy penalties. And it’s just wrong to allow able-bodied people to take up handicapped parking spaces.

- Place the placard on your rear view mirror when you park and remove it when you exit. Do not drive with it hanging from the rear view mirror if it is blocking your view.

- Don’t get in the habit of using it when you don’t really need too. Whenever possible, take advantage of those few extra steps to work your leg muscles.

- Forget about guilt. The handicapped parking spaces exist to help people like us. Life is tough enough without feeling guilty over this minor “perk.”

- If you happen to run across the disapproving looks of passersby, don’t let it get to you. You are under no obligation to explain yourself to strangers. If you’re so inclined, you could use it as an opportunity to spread awareness of the reality of life with MS.

Multiple sclerosis, like other invisible illnesses, can conjure up all manner of emotional turmoil. It’s hard to understand what you can’t see, and equally difficult to constantly justify yourself to other people — but there’s no reason in the world why we should have to.

My handicapped parking placard, though seldom used, gives me tremendous peace of mind. More often than not, it remains in my glove compartment, but when called into action, it makes an otherwise daunting task manageable. That’s not something I’m going to feel guilty about.

Got a story involving handicapped parking spaces? Share in the comment section below.

Writer Ann Pietrangelo embraces the concept of personal responsibility for health and wellness. As a multiple sclerosis patient, she combines a healthy lifestyle and education with modern medicine, and seeks to provide information and support to others. She is a regular contributor to Care2.com’s Reform Health Policy blog in Causes.

Read more: Blogs, Conditions, Health, Living with MS, Multiple Sclerosis, , , , , , ,

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love

62 comments

+ add your own
2:04AM PDT on Jun 11, 2011

Thanks for the article.

5:06PM PST on Jan 17, 2011

Multiple Sclerosis is NOT an invisible illness. How incredibly selfish to put MS patients in the same category as those with 'invisible' non-mobility disabilities. MS is a legitimate, not to mention terrible disease. that virtually always causes some type of mobility impairment.

12:06PM PDT on Oct 13, 2010

I believe if you have the permit you have the right to park there. Technically the handicapped parking permits are only for disabled drivers. Disabled passengers are supposed dropped off and picked up at designated loading zones. Unfortunately most places do not have theses loading zones.

7:08AM PDT on Aug 6, 2010

New York Walking Tours

7:07AM PDT on Aug 6, 2010

I recently had foot surgery and was given a temp. disabled placard to use which made my life so much easier! Now my foot is healing but the MS fatigue, numbness, and dizziness is still there and I asked my neurologist if I could keep my placard. He said no! I guess I am not "disabled enough" to him to deserve a permanent card.

4:08AM PDT on Jul 4, 2010

Look, here is the ONLY test that need be applied. If someone is going into the grocery store and walks 2 miles through the aisles, then a HANDICAP SPOT isn't needed, they can easily walk the eXtra hundred feet to the store entrance..
*
What you people DO NOT understand about the handicap spots IS they allow those of us who have been paraplegics all our lives is they ALLOW US To OPEN OUR DOORS FULLY to load our wheelchairs into the car. If we are unble to FULLY open the car DOOR then we are STUCK!
*
Anyone who can walk to the DOOR OF MALL doesn't need a handicap parking spot, period. Why? because you are going to walk 5 miles through the damn mall before it's all said and done.
*
Why do I see people who can walk park in those LARGEST HANDICAP SPOTS at Walmart, Or Sams? I ask people who have just walked out of Sams WHY they park in a handicap spot and they try to give me that crap about MS, but I just got done following you through Sams, and was in line behind YOU!
*
My best friend who is now deceased had MS, Doug told me that people with MS who become tired for walking Do NOT risk being CAUGHT out in public TOO tired to walk, I believed him because I watched him progress, plateau and repeat that cycle until he passed... Doug said that handicap spots with MS people using them are people taking advantage of their Diagnosis. He said by the time he was ill enough to take advantage of Handicap parkingm the short distances that he could walk, then be forced to rest made goi

8:39AM PDT on Jun 29, 2010

I am always the passenger. Never have I driven a car. I get tired after walking 50 feet. I have seizures. I have epilepsy.I have been able to walk without trouble for most of my life. Now it's just exhausting. The medication I have taken over so many years has caused a condition in my brain called "cerebellar atrophy" The part of the brain that controls speech and motor skills - and balance - has made walking a major chore. The cerebellum on the left side of my brain is 75 percent gone. I would like to have a placard to put into the vehicle that is taking me somewhere...I would not have to walk far...does anyone else have that same situation?

8:53AM PST on Jan 27, 2010

Hi Clare,
Maybe you could ask your family Dr. about your placard. Mine will help if I'm not scheduled to see my neurologist. I never hurts to ask.
Speaking on neurologists. mine prescribed a My Wii Fit Plus system by Nintendo. It has Strength Training Plus, Aerobics, Balance Games, new Yoga and strength Training and 15 new Training Plus games. Hopefully insurance will help pay the approximately $400.00. That includes the tower that hasn't arrived yet. After that you can get gazillions of other games and programs. The way I see it you will never get what you don't ask for. Although this was the Doc's Idea.
I had been on Avonex and then Copaxone for several years but with the help of my chiropractor/holistic healer I'm on strictly natural suppliments and stuff. I would recomend Copaxone for least invasive treatment. Neuro. said there will be a pill out soon for those who are tiered of injections.
Oips, I guesss I started rambling. Y'all stay healthy and happy and remember a possitive attitude goes a long way. Laugh uncontrollably at least once a day. It clearse the mind.
Lots-O-Love to all,
Dennis

2:40PM PST on Jan 26, 2010

Hi Clare J.
Because you MS you should be intitled to a permanent handicap placard, I believe that your doctor is wrong to deny you one. To most people I look normal, but with my other symptoms and now an enlarged heart I was able to get a permanent placard two years ago. I don't have MS, but I have a couple of friends that have MS and know what you are currently going through. I would ask your doctor know that you need a permanent placard. Don't let guilt stop you, just keep going.

Debbie .

12:20PM PST on Jan 26, 2010

I have had MS for 17 years and pretty much been able to ignore it for over a decade. My "episodes" would last a month and being in school, I could "hide" easily from the world until I got better. But the past few years have brought about progrssive conditions that are always there somewhat, such as noticeable dizziness and fatigue (falling asleep at the wheel). So my MS said "NOTICE ME." I have NEVER wanted the handicap placard as I've never considered myself disabled before and this was not easy to deal with mentally (I'm very proud). I've tried the treatments with horrible results and took myself off of them.

I recently had foot surgery and was given a temp. disabled placard to use which made my life SO much easier! Now my foot is healing but the MS fatigue, numbness, and dizziness is still there and I asked my neurologist if I could keep my placard. He said NO! I guess I am not "disabled enough" to him to deserve a permanant card.

Now I understand I am in good shape to many with MS, but I have NEVER abused or wanted to use ANY handicap "benefits," especially a placard.

After 17 years, I'm asking for this one benefit & my doctor doesn't want to give it to me. So I'm asking others like me who have this disease... Am I wrong for wanting to have a permanent placard because I have MS? I thought the point was that you don't know when symptoms will flare up & it even helps with the consistant minor symptoms.

Am I wrong? I'd love to hear feedback on this....

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

i thought obama care took care of EVERYTHING

People love their non-human family members, be they furry, finny or scaly. I spend close to $100 a…

My garden didn't do well this year or for that matter, last year too. Maybe not enough sun. I will…

Below is the one I bought from eBay Australia, but I'm sure it would be available in the US. One m…

birds love out yarden we have lots of feeders with foods for different birds. Sad news my Hummers le…

Story idea? Want to blog? Contact the editors!



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.