Monthly Archives: November 2017

Be thankful for that disabled parking place, and report the people who are cheating you out of it!

I guess I’ve seen it from all angles. Since it’s pretty clear that I have a disability, I don’t worry about people wondering if I’m “faking it” when I pull into a disabled parking space.

I’m also aware that there are a lot of people whose disabilities are not obvious, but who still need and are entitled to that disability placard. So I stop myself from angrily limping up and confronting people who appear to be using that space illegally.

But the truth is that a whole lot of people are taking advantage of a law that was hard-fought for and a long time coming: the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Among other things, this law requires that most stores and other places open to the public must designate a certain amount of their parking places as reserved only for people with disabilities. It has tremendously helped people with disabilities to become more integrated into a society that was (unintentionally) built without us in mind.

So one of the best ways of expressing our thanks for the ADA is to work to maintain it. This includes resisting the numerous recent attempts to chip away at its most important provisions (see my posts for more info). It also means that if we think we see someone who is using a disabled parking place they are not entitled to, we should take the time to write down their license plate number and call the authorities.

That certainly beats the two only other alternatives: We can ignore the issue and hope that more people decide to be law-abiding. Or we can try to take the law into our own hands and confront the suspected offender. And as one who has occasionally used this latter approach, I must sheepishly admit that there are much better ways to use my time and energy!

Helen Russon

For more info, see:

When Talking to or about People with Disabilities, Words Matter.

This photo is pretty self-explanatory – it’s a begger with his cap in his hand. But a lot of people don’t know that this is where the term, “handicap” came from. This is a big part of the reason why that term is now disfavored.

In addition, when you talk about a Black or Hispanic individual, you don’t usually mention their race first, if at all. This is why people with disabilities advocate for “people first” language. Rather than say, ”That’s a wheelchair-bound person,” why not say, “That’s a person in a wheelchair.” That way, you are identifying their humanity before mentioning their disability.

These may seem like unimportant issues, but it is our common discourse that helps mold the self-image of the people we are talking about. And for most of the people with disabilities that I know, they would like to be thought of first as who they are, not what they have. And that goes for me, too.

See the link below for more info.