Reserved Parking


It is Thursday, again. Time for a MAD post. We all want respect. To get it, we need to give it. In order to give it, we have to refrain from judging based on our own misconceptions. Just because you cannot see it, does not mean it is not there. Just because you can see it, does not mean it is what you think.

If I asked you what disabled meant, what would you answer? Before you get self-conscious, let’s look at what the children I asked said. Bear in mind, they range in age from seven to sixteen.

  • Someone who cannot walk.
  • Someone who had their arms and legs cut off.
  • Someone who has to have a wheelchair.
  • People who are not able to do a lot of things.
  • People who can’t talk.
  • People who are mental. They say they can do things, but they can’t.

It is easy to see what children see as disabled: Disabilities they can see and hear.


Handicapped Reserved Sign

Not for you.

More than 54 million people aged five and older have a disability which does not require institutionalization. They live their lives the same way others do with the major exception they do it under debilitating circumstances.

More than 25 million disabled people are of employable age. More than 78% of them want to work. Only 33% of the ones who want to work have jobs.

Over 15% of the cars parked in handicapped parking spaces are parked illegally.


The majority of disabilities are caused by accidents, illnesses or late-emerging effects of genetics. A small minority is caused by congenital disorders (birth defects). Some of the most severe disabilities cannot be detected by the naked eye.

  • Hearing impairment
  • Blindness
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Autism
  • Depression
  • Phobias
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Many, many, many others

Most disabled people want to be totally integrated with society. They want to be included in entertainment venues and social events. They want to work and be self-sufficient. They want to be just like you.

People never plan on becoming disabled, but everyday, it happens. One day, you could be disabled.

Make a Difference

Do you need some ideas on how you can make a difference to someone who is disabled?

Show Respect

Be respectful of others whether you can perceive a disability or not.

No Parking

Laws protect these spaces.

Do not park in a space designated for the handicapped. They are a necessity for the ones who cannot travel long distances.

Do not illegally use handicapped license plates or placards you may possess because you borrowed, bought or inherited a vehicle from a handicapped person. It is against the law in every state for a non-handicapped person to park in a handicapped space unless they are transporting the handicapped person to whom the placard or license plate is issued.

Even if the sign does not say how much, there is a minimum fine for all violations of handicapped parking.

Pick Another Stall

Do not use a handicapped restroom stall unless you are handicapped. A disabled person’s need to use the restroom is just as urgent as yours. In most cases, it takes them longer to prepare to use the designated facilities.

Wide Berth

When you see a handicapped license plate on a vehicle, show some respect. Slow down to allow the driver ample space to operate. Do not tailgate. Do not honk to have the driver get out of your way. Road rage is not polite. Ever.

Be polite.

Open a door for someone.

Push a wheelchair up or down an incline.

Offer to carry groceries or parcels.

Offer your arm in inclement weather or on uneven walkways.

Ask others to step aside.

Offer to hold a child’s hand while mother/father is paying or loading a car.

Offer to run errands for a disabled neighbor while you are out doing your own.

Do not stare. Show you have manners.

Do not condescend. Just because someone is physically challenged does not mean they do not understand.

Do not assume. Just because you cannot see what is wrong with someone does not mean what they are doing is not causing pain…physical or emotional.

Be patient. You are not going to expire in the additional minute it takes a disabled person to get out of your way. If you think you will, offer to help. It will occupy your time, so you will not think it was wasted.

Teach your children to respect the disabled. Teach them to be helpful. Teach them by example with an explanation.

Take a few minutes to think about how you would want someone to treat you if you were the one with the disability. Now, think about how you would feel if it was a disability no one could see. Time forย MAD. You can Make A Difference.


Can you name a disability which is not discernible to the naked eye? How do you help the handicapped? Do you know someone who is disabled? (Tell me why you think the last one is a trick question.)

(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2012
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  1. I’ll name two invisible disabilities – one serious, one not so much.

    The serious one is dementia. My years of taking care of my mom taught me how quickly confusion can set in. If you see an elderly person in a grocery store aisle looking like they don’t have a clue where they are – they might not.

    Now, tongue in cheek. Life in modern society can produce short-term insanity. That person who just slammed their car door as if they wanted to kill the danged thing may have been listening to talk radio. They may be completely frustrated over the decline of Western Civilization and the American Way of Life. Smile at them. Make them feel better.

    • Both are good examples. The treatment for the second one is a 50/50 shot between getting a pinched smile in return and a growl!

  2. Autism, and heart conditions can not been seen with the naked eye. My baby girl is considered disabled b/c of the autism. It’s a trick question because a lack of intelligence is a handicap that doesn’t get a diagnosis unless it falls into a diagnostic catergory and they walk around without help in sight. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Amen to that! Unfortunately, when it comes to autism, awareness simply is not enough. It requires workable intervention. Even the “pros” are not good at that…and I would love a dx for lack of intelligence!

  3. Red, from experience I know deafness all too well I am all too aware of how people perceive it –and because of that I believe that blatant stupidity, stubbornness, ignorance , and closed-mindedness are the worst invisible disabilities. “:)

  4. I can do you one better – I live it every day. I have only 3 discs in my spine (neck included) that aren’t either surgically removed or bulging! I had radiation therapy (37 doses) twice. There is nothing that “appears” wrong with me, until you see me try to walk. Pain (chronic pain) does not show, nor do spinal injuries from disease – I get asked all the time what’s wrong with me, I just gave up answering…

    There is a major difference between being handicapped and being disabled. the first you’ve got a medical/mental disease or defect that causes impairment of which you can still work through, the latter is no work, little fun – especially if you were working contract when diagnosed! (no LTD insurance!)

    • I think the best answer is “one you can neither see nor appreciate.” Yes, I know it is snarky, but I do not like the question any better than you do!

  5. Red, Recently I received a handicap placard due to being legally blind. I always feel funny about using it because while it’s true that I’m blind and while it is a handicap (is it?? really??) , it doesn’t really stop me from doing that much ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • The resiliency of your nature is why you do not think of it in terms like the “average” person does. No one contemplates how they would react to a disability. When met with someone else’s disability, the only way they can react is with the devastation they think they would feel at the diagnosis. ๐Ÿ˜‰ And do not let it stop you a bit!

  6. I was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and, apart from fears of going out while our local teenagers are about and the nausea and fear of going out to shop I function pretty well.

    Some of my friends are classed as blind, but it doesn’t slow them down much.

    Sarah has restricted sight and used to go cycling with her mother acting as her eyes, so I love her to bits because she is one bundle of courage!

    One of her friends is totally blind and is studying politics at University level, planning on becoming an MP one day.

    I just call him the ‘Big Guy’ because nothing slows him down! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Just because somebody has a disability doesn’t stop them achieving and one day I hope to leave my disability behind – even if my Psychiatrist thinks there is no cure…

    Love and hugs!


    • Good for you, Pren. You have the willpower! There are so many who function from day to day without succumbing to their handicaps. So many of us merely use our handicaps as an excuse to be exemplary at something else.

  7. I’m astounded that the illegal parking stat is only around 15%.
    And I think courtesy and patience are the key guidelines for any interaction. Respect has to be earned by everyone, regardless of condition, though handicapped are entitled just because of their accomplishments on a daily basis.
    I think you’re question is a trick, because aren’t all of us disabled in some way?

    • The stats are based on studies of cameraed spaces. The violations, whether ticketed or not, were counted. Because it was not a nationwide survey (DOT could care less), the numbers are likely on the low side, although one of the cities was yours. Not sure why, considering the complete lack of parking every stinking where there. Other cities included Los Angeles, Glendale and Chicago.

      And yes, it is a trick, but not in the way you might imagine ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. Pardon me? What’s that you say? I’m hard of hearing which kind of limited me since before I lost my hearing I was in sales ๐Ÿ˜‰ Not a problem on here, though.

  9. Love it. Diabetes and ignorance (no I didn’t say stupidity – someone is ignorant if they have not learned something and only stupid if they didn’t want to learn). Trick question – all have a disability of some kind. Visible, invisible, something that makes us feel different or need special care in some way. Is rudeness a disability? It is if you want friends! Not to make light of those with real disabilities (hate that word), but we really don’t know why people are like they are. Rudeness could be a sign of something else lurking in the invisible realm. Be kind to everyone – you don’t know what they carry. Kindness and patience get my vote too. I would also add — don’t act like they are invisible.

    • Diabetes is a good one. I have diabetics very close to me. Rudeness falls in the stupidity group for me. Yes, it is normally a sign of something else entirely, but still being a boor is a choice ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. My back/neck injury combined with chronic pain is a disability, epilepsy depending on the severity is also considered a disability though I am uncertain why. Through my injuries I have both. I am allowed to have the handicap placard, but haven’t submitted for renewal in years, primarily because I don’t believe I need to take up the limited parking spaces.

    I do have my disability listed with the airlines I regularly travel with though which gives me immediate access to bulkhead (premium) seating. I consider this my disability perk.

    • Perk? You are a mess.

      • If I can’t find a positive I might as well shoot myself again. Really, what is the point otherwise. Those Dumbazzes could get the job done at point blank range, I might as well get something out of it even if it is only premium seating and the occasional joy of kicking a snotty businessman out of his seat!


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