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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Why should we be judged?

Parents of kids with special needs and even adults with special needs tend to be judged for things beyond our control like parking in handicapped spots, or needing wheelchairs/ strollers even when it may not be apparent why and things like that. It really is terrible. Having 4 kids with various special needs we have a handicapped parking placard. We do not always need it, but when we do we will use it. Their special needs like epilepsy  and cerebral palsy and Ehlers Danlos syndrome may not be visible, but they can cause hazards or make it hard to park far away. With ADHD, ODD or anxiety or if a seizure occurs we may need to get out of the store and into the car quickly. The kids may wear down quickly and it may be hard for them to walk so they need strollers/wheelchairs. These same things apply to many many others who get judged just by looks.

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Not too long ago I had just loaded the kids up into the car. They can be hard to see as we have a suburban. I myself was just getting in and an elderly man was walking past the car. We were parked in a handicapped spot and he shook his head at me and said what he thought was quiet "probably stole the pass from someone she doesn't look like she needs it" and then he hurried inside before I got a chance to say anything. We weren't doing anything wrong, but we get made out to be like we shouldn't;t be using the handicapped spots. They aren't just for elderly young people can have disabilities and not all disabilities are visible. I have heard too many similar stories from other special needs moms as well.

Here is a story from a fellow special needs mom who has special needs of her own. She has had rheumatoid arthritis since she was 22. "The instance that hit home the hardest for me was in College. I had just been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. My Doctor had applied for a parking pass from my University for me. Without fail every time I tried to use it on campus, they requested to see my ID and would place a call into the offices to make sure I hadn't stolen the tag a wrote my own ID number on it. It got so bad I quit using the tag, paid the 70 dollars for a non handicap tag, and got to campus hours before my first class just so I could get to it on time and have enough time for breaks while walking. I was already dealing with the shock of my diagnosis, how that pertained to other health issues and trying to adjust my life accordingly. I just couldn't deal with the pass stuff on top of it. There weren't enough spoons to go around."   This is ridiculous that we have to go through things like this.
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Medical strollers, wheelchairs, and strollers in general are another major source of judgement. My son with CP was about 3 or 4 at the time. He was in his medical stroller, which looks similar toa regular stroller and often gets seen as one. We were asked a few times "isn't he too old to be in a stroller?' Or people would see him walking around one day and another riding in his chair. He has bad days and has trouble walking longer distances. Here are some stories by other moms shared with me. "My son was in a adaptive stroller. We sat at a handicap table at McDonalds. This older guy stood by me and was pointing to the handicap symbol on table. He was saying something i didn't get at first. He comes back and says something about us sitting there and asking why. I was pretty dumbfounded and just pointed to my son. Another time i got stopped at Walmart by a lady in a motorized cart because we parked in handicap spot. She is like i saw where you parked i am like um ok. She is like well you shouldn't of parked in handicap why did you? i just turned around and looked at my hubby who was pushing our son in his chair. She was like oh i didnt see him figured you were using your grandparents card. So she knew where we parked but didn't see our son in his chair. I was so ticked but my hubby wouldny let me say anything." Another mom said "People get annoyed about her big medical stroller in crowded restaurants because they don't know it is medical. She can't even hold her head up."
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