Accessible parking spaces brochure, Don’t Judge By Appearances – Parking with Invisible Disabilities, is a 3-fold pamphlet to help people better understand the legal rights those with various disabilities have to park in accessible parking spaces. It strives to shed a light on the fact that reserved spaces are not limited to disabilities that are readily visible to the onlooker.
Be familiar with accessible parking rules and to avoid judging by appearance.
The general qualifications for the accessible parking spaces include those using chairs, walkers, crutches, canes and assistive dogs. However, they also include certain impaired functions of the heart or lungs, as well as conditions worsened by walking a certain distance. These issues may not be easily observed so this is why we should all be safe and don’t judge others by appearance.
As we can see, people with a variety of disabilities may qualify to park in these spots. Not all impairments are readily evident to the onlooker. Because of this, we refer to conditions which cause debilitating symptoms but are not apparent from the outside as invisible disabilities.
Don’t judge is easier when you know who qualifies for accessible parking.
Here are just a few invisible reasons a person might have that enable them to qualify either temporarily or long-term for an accessible parking space:
Back injury, brain injury, chronic illness, chronic pain, heart condition, muscular disorders, neurological disorders, seizure disorders, spinal disorders, bone disorders, chronic injuries, organ transplant, oxygen impairment, difficult pregnancy, prosthetic, surgery and several others.
Understanding the rules for accessible parking can help you help others.
Reserved spaces are designed to help those in need of them for a number of reasons so don’t judge appearances. Whether the disability is visible or invisible to others, without these spaces, seemingly simple tasks in life could be increasingly painful, overwhelming, often impossible or even life threatening for millions of people.
It is honorable when people care if these spots are being abused by those who do not need them. Yet, we must remember, we cannot be the judge of who deserves to park in the accessible spaces and who does not, just by looking at them.
Allan Appel, a disability columnist pleads, “Compassion means not sneering at or verbally harassing someone who does not appear to be disabled but occupies a handicapped parking space. The operative word here is ‘appear.’”
Therefore, if a person is displaying a license to park in an accessible parking space, try offering a hand, instead of a visual judgment. After all…the people you are graciously intending to defend, may be standing right in front of you.