To the lady in Shoprite’s parking lot…

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“Hey! You shouldn’t park there.”

As I made eye contact with the lady who told me this just a few hours ago, as I was lugging Joey and a cart full of groceries out of the store into my van at our local Shoprite, I could see the anger in her eyes.

I kindly tried to explain to her that the handicap parking pass hanging in the front window of my van is for my son, not me and that I had just put him in the car. She let out a snobby huff, rolled her eyes, and walked away… Rather than letting it get to me and boil inside and get myself angry, I decided to educate my readers and say to myself, “just keep swimming, just keep swimming…”

You see, the beginning of a regular trip to the grocery with Joey consists of me praying that Joey doesn’t get away from me & runs in front of a moving car, or decides to drop to his knees while walking across the parking lot and then even have to carry the over 50 pounds of dead weight he is and THEN hope that the Caroline’s Cart is available so I don’t have to lift him (and kill my back in the process) and squeeze him into the toddler seat of a regular grocery cart.

There are some outings I don’t have to use the pass. It all depends on how big the parking lot is and how many moving vehicles are around. If it’s a small parking lot, then no, I don’t use it.

Joey’s pediatrician suggested for us to get the handicap pass when I started having back problems from lifting him so much including carrying him through parking lots when he’s too stubborn to walk. He also has a hard time in the heat and gets fatigued easily so it’s a huge help in the summer time especially!

And some of you may wonder why I don’t wait till evening after the kids are in bed to go to the store. Well, Joey LOVES going out with me running errands. He’s like a little mayor of our town. Everywhere we go, someone knows him and he loves to say hi to people by waving and hoping they notice him. This gives him socialization skills with the public and having an Austic child, that’s huge!

There are other people like me who are also proud parents of special needs children who have the same struggles as me going to the store who have had the same type of thing said to them by complete and total strangers. There are also people who have hidden disabilities that require them to have a handicap pass themselves who have as well been singled out by strangers who think they know everything.

Sadly, yes, there are some people who take advantage of handicap passes. Some people hang on to their deceased loved one’s pass and take advantage of it, but let me assure you, the ONLY time I ever use the pass is when I have Joey with me. So please take his post as one from a mom trying to advocate for Joey and educate the public on hidden and visible disabilities and using a handicap pass.

I hope somehow the woman who I encountered today in the parking lot reads this and understands a little more. Also, think before you speak. Thank you! ♥

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***I have no makeup on and yes, Joey is picking his nose with his thumb, story of my life, lol!

 

16 responses »

  1. You go girl!!! Very well said and you have nothing to apologize about. I absolutely agree wholeheartedly that you should not just shop when Joey is sleeping. Grocery shopping with mom is a wonderful learning experience for children on every possible level. Good for you to make the extra effort that it takes for you to include him in this activity. It gets him out into social situations, gives him a chance to communicate with you and others around him, stimulates his learning about the world around him, provides him with chances to move, teaches him about paying attention to shopping; the list of positives is ENDLESS!! So, I’ll say it again – GO MOM – you rock it!!
    And for the woman in the parking lot….I hope she reads this blog but if she doesn’t, it really doesn’t matter anyway. You are doing the right thing for your child and that is all that really matters.
    Love you!
    Beth

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I’m so impressed with your self control! Seriously, people have no business. Sigh. Good for YOU mama, taking such good care of your precious boy! He deserves to be out and about especially if he loves it so much! 🙂

    I love your picture, you look beautiful and your son picking his nose? PERFECT! All moms get that!! LOL

    Liked by 3 people

  3. People have no right to roll their eyes or question someone who has a handicapped sticker just because they are not in a wheel chair or limping. The person could have a breathing problem or some other condition that is not obvious to others.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I had to use one after my knee surgery for 8 weeks while on crutches. I will have to use one after my son has surgery on both feet, ankles and femurs. He is 4’7″ & weighs #72. I’m 5’1″ & #130. I can’t lift him easily. He has Ds and occasionally runs, or dawdles or flops down or climbs, so going anywhere with him is an adventure…

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I am so happy you posted your story. I was just issued a handicap sticker for my grandson after injuring my shoulder when he pulled me down as he dropped to the ground. My grandson has Down Syndrome and Autism and I worry he will run and get away from me whenever I take him out. Having a handicap sticker will help getting him to his appointments safely and with less stress for me.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I dont know what State you are in but I have held permits in several States as a disabled Veteran and I know MANY doctors will issue the permit without looking at the actual LAW. I realize that many disabilities are invisible (I have several and also usa a wheelchair) BUT this permit is ONLY suppossed to be ISSUED for SPECIFIC (mobile/blindness) disabilities. NOT ALL disabilities. I just thought this shoud be stated because without these specific disabilities listed YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE a DISABLED PERMIT in the first place. I have found so many people getting their doctors to issue these that it sucks when you can no longer find a parking spot. Many people do not actually qualify for this permit in the firat place. I just thought this goes to the subject matter of this post and whether or not the USE of these permits are legally being issues in the first place. Here are the guidleines below.

    PERMANENT PERMIT: This is to certify that the applicant named above is legally blind or is a disabled person with a permanent disability (ties) that limits or impairs his/her ability to walk 200 feet without stopping to rest. Specify below (2-8) either legally blind or the specific disability (ties).
    DISABILITY TYPE AS DISPLAYED IN FRVIS:
    2. Inability to walk without the use of or assistance from a brace, cane, crutch, prosthetic device, or other assistive device, or without assistance of another person. If the assistive device significantly restores the person’s ability to walk to the extent that the person can walk without severe limitation, the person is not eligible for the exemption parking permit.
    3. The need to permanently use a wheelchair.
    4. Restriction by lung disease to the extent that the person’s forced (respiratory) expiratory volume for 1 second, when measured by spirometry, is less than one liter or the person’s arterial oxygen is less than 60 mm/hg on room air at rest.
    5. Use of portable oxygen.
    6. Restriction by cardiac condition to the extent that the person’s functional limitations are classified in severity as Class III or Class IV according to standards set by the American Heart Association.
    7. Severe limitation in a person’s ability to walk due to an arthritic, neurological, or orthopedic condition.
    8. Legally Blind (This is the only disability an Optometrist can certify.)
    WARNING: Any person who knowingly makes a false or misleading statement in an application or certification under section 320.0848, Florida Statutes, commits a
    misdemeanor of the first degree, punishab

    Like

    • Hi Amy,

      First of all, thank you for your service. My brother in law is a disabled veteran as well, and I know that he faces many struggles. I admire the sacrifice soldiers make for this country. Thank you.

      I agree with you that all people with disabilities should be able to qualify to get a handicap permit. I become very frustrated when all of the handicap parking places are full. I encounter this problem daily.

      My 10 year old, son, Sammy has severe, nonverbal autism and an intellectual disability. He has qualified for a wheelchair and a handicap parking permit. Sammy can walk, run, and swim. He is overweight, other than this, he is perfectly healthy. BUT he has severe darting behaviors. At times, he thinks it is funny to do the opposite of what I say, so he will run or drop to the ground when we are out in the community. He has dropped down right in the middle of streets and parking lots. It is absolutely terrifying to drag my child out of a street. So, no, he doesn’t have a physical disability, but his intellectual disability affects his mobility.

      Sammy qualifies for a handicap parking permit under #2: “inability to walk…without assistance of another person” My son requires one to one care at all times and must have someone right next to him while walking through a parking lot. Now that he is bigger, I must have a wheelchair to safely transport him at some locations.

      I believe that when it comes to disabled children’s safety, it is never a waste to approve handicap permits.

      Thank you,

      Emily

      Liked by 1 person

      • Emily,

        While I can appreciate your reply in that you stated your child qualifies, I disagree in many comments here that a disabled permit should be issued for the safety of the child, or just so it can be used sometimes? This should not be the case. The safety of the child is important, dont get me wrong, but circumventing the law or believeing that every disability is somehow entitled to a handicap parking permit is not acceptable. It is the same attitude I see when I go tot he VA hospital and see vets carrying around their pets or emotional service dogs claiming they are service dogs. Pets and Emotional Support animals DO NOT have public access. The laws are clear. I Realize children with special needs are difficult as I am raising two of them. I have been the mom watching my young boy dart away and run in between two parked cars and out into the street. I nearly died that day BUT he didnt even dart anywhere near our parked car which happened to be in a handicap parking spot due to the law that allows me to park there with a MOBILE disability. The laws are clear. Mobile disabilities and blindness (and more apecifically the mobile disabilities must affect you ALL the TIME and be a permananet disability, if not and they are a mobile injury that will affect you only a short time then that person will usually be issued a temp pass but it still must affect them AT ALL times. Using the pass when convienent or only sometimes violates the law). All states follow nearly identical requirements for this parking permit with very few exceptions. The problem is there is a sense of entitlement in this country that people think it is ok to circumvent the law even if they dont meet the defined requirements. The use of this permit is being abused, over issued to people who may have disbilities as defined under the ADA but still do not qualify for the permit. I am a disabilities advocate. I believe in the rights of the disabled and being in a wheelchair after being a top athlete my entire military career has been devestating BUT even more devestating is the fighting for access. Fighting to get into places to include parking when there is none, access for my highly TASK trained service dog because people feel entitled to circumvent and displace others due to their perceived notion that their diability and the fact that they have a disbailtiy trumps others or the law. I dont judge when I see someone get out of their vehicle in a handicapped parking spot and I try to give all disabled people with placards the benefit of the doubt BUT if you dont have a permanent MOBILE disability OR blindness that requires the use of the handicap spot at all times then in accordance with the law you are breaking the law by using the placard even if physician issued it and the physician is also breaking the law and not following the rules set forth on the form. This is a black and white issue with zero gray area. The law is the law. It doesnt mean you are not handicapped and doesnt mean you are not permanently hanodicapped as I know serveral vets that are permenantly handicapped with PTSD but by law they do not rate a handicapped automobile placard unless they have a Permanant MOBILE disability or blindness! On a note in regard to your son and his need for assistance to walk. He very well may have severe limitations even with assistance but the regulation goes on to say that if the assistance from another person or a device allows them to walk without SEVERE limitation then they still DONT qualify for the permit. So for example if you can’t walk without a cane but when you use the cane you can ambulate with minimal effort then you still dont rate the permit under the law. Severe limitations is subject to interpretation and that is why abuse of the system is rampant. This is the same reason Disney changed their access program at their parks due to all the abuse. Someone will always find a way to circumvent the laws and the doctors are the ones who should be punished and subjected to penalties if they issue the permits without meeting the strictest definitions of the law. If you can walk, and even run “sometimes” without severe limitations and the wheelchair use is not permanent then the use of a placard would be in violation of the law. Access is not accessible and getting worse everyday for those who meet the definitions of the law. The safety of ALL is important and that safety is compromised when a person in a wheelchair cannot find a place to park that has enough room for a lift. That safety is compromised when someone brings their pet or untrained ESA into a public venue and it lunges or attacks at a TRUE service dog. All people with disabilities have rights to be accomodated but not all disabled people rate ALL accomodations.

        Like

    • Since the blog owner is from Connecticut, here are the laws pertaining to Connecticut Handicap Parking:

      **Who can obtain a Permanent Parking Permit?
      An eligible candidate is anyone who has one of the qualifying disabilities or conditions that affect mobility or is permanent in nature:

      1. Use of portable oxygen.
      2. Legal blindness.
      3. Limited use, or no use, of one or both legs.
      4. Inability to walk 200 feet without stopping.
      5. A neuro-muscular dysfunction that severely limits mobility.
      6. A Class III or IV cardiac condition (American Heart Association standards).
      7. Severe limitation in the ability to walk due to an arthritic, neurological or orthopedic condition.
      8. Restriction because of lung disease to such an extent that forced (respiratory) expiratory volume for one second, when measured by spirometry, is less than one liter, or the arterial oxygen tension is less than sixty mm/hg of room air at rest.

      A licensed medical professional has to verify your impaired mobility and eligibility requirements in writing.

      **Who can certify an application for Permanent Parking Permits?
      A Special Permit Application and Impairment Certificate (B-225) can be certified by any one of the following:

      A Physician
      A Physician’s Assistant
      An Advance Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)

      In the case of blindness, the following can certify:
      An Optometrist
      An Ophthalmologist
      A member of the Connecticut Board of Services and Education for the Blind

      **What is the Connecticut application process for Handicap Parking Plates and Placards?

      The applicant must fill the Special Permit Application and Impairment Certificate (Form B-225). Part A of the form must be completed by the applicant; Part B must be completed by a Connecticut licensed medical professional.

      **Your permanent disability placard expires when your driver’s license or ID card expires. These are usually valid for 6 years. Once your placard expires, you must re-apply using the same process as a first time application.

      Like

    • Thank you for your service to our country and for your concerns regarding whether I am breaking the law by having Joey’s pass. The answer is no, I am not. Most times, Joey cannot walk more than 200 feet without stopping. And per CT law, if someone cannot walk more than 200 feet without stopping, then they qualify for a pass. My husband is an attorney and before we looked into this, he read up on the law for our state and we discussed this with Joey’s pediatrician AND the doctor at our local Down syndrome clinic. I’m sorry if your opinion differs and I do not want any more arguing on my blog, negative comments from now on will not be approved, this blog is to raise awareness for Down syndrome and Autism and not to argue.

      Like

  7. Yep, there is always those few rude , uneducated people … Which we choose at the time, hmm do I argue my case, are they worth educating them, so they do not put their foot in their mouth again. Or just keep my day going. Smoothly!!??

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You are a great Mom! Sometimes people try to make it hard to advocate for our children, but we just won’t allow that we are the only and best advocates they have . Some people think they are the only ones in the world with a problem, I just wish they would open their eyes and their minds. Our children need enrichment, we give it as much as we can, in as many ways we can. I see you as doing everything you can for your son and that is wonderful.
    One of my girls works at Shoprite and said you are really sweet and Joey is adorable. So don’t stop doing what you are doing. NEVER let ignorance annoy or pursuade you, most people understand.

    Regards,
    Joanne

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It gets old hearing that people do that. It’s none of their business anyways, there are many issues that people have that aren’t visible to others and again, none of their business. I have back and joint issues and it isn’t something anyone can see. However, I haven’t gotten a handicap sticker, why, because of not wanting to deal with ignorant people. On good days I wouldn’t use it, on bad days I definitely could but I just get tired of insensitive people, always judging others. Thank you for sharing this and I agree it was a great choice to try to educate. Thank you for taking the time to do this!!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This is a great teaching lesson! Plenty of people have a variety of reasons for using their handicapped permit sign. I really love the expression, “There but for the Grace of God go I.” I have loved the old poster that had this only about walking a mile in another’s moccasins. 🙂 Hugs to you and your little Mayor. ❤

    Like

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