davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
David Gillon ([personal profile] davidgillon) wrote in [community profile] accessibility_fail2014-11-24 01:13 am
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Why Are You Questioning My Need for a Wheelchair?

Really good Huff Post piece on how normies make it difficult for wheelchair users with invisible disabilities. Rings absolutely true.

(And another Bendy speaking out, pro rata we must be one of the most published disability sub-groups!)

dubhain: (Default)

[personal profile] dubhain 2014-11-25 01:26 am (UTC)(link)
By and large, I agree with that article. (Disclaimer: I don't use a chair at present — I walk with a cane. However I've recently spoken with my doctor, and I may be having to get one soon.)

However, as someone who's had the plate equivalent of a blue tag before (and may be getting one again, as well,) I'll note that the blue tags are frequently abused. E.g. I used to live in a college town, and had a hell of a time finding handicapped parking spots. The students were fond of using grandma's tag to grab a convenient and free parking spot at the U. I can't count the number of times I saw a car whip into a blue spot, and a student or two leap out of it and run at full tilt across campus. (Yes, I reported it, every time.) So, under some circumstances, it may be appropriate to kick-up a fuss about it.

That said, back when I had the plate, I also got snarked at. I was a fairly-well-built twenty-something male, who walked with a cane. I got the sarcastic comments about people like me getting all the best parking, and harangued by senior citizens that "those spots" were only for people their age. I also got yelled at, because there wasn't a hang-tag on the rearview mirror of my sport little black coupe. (Apparently, the plate in the back didn't count, by their standards.) I even got threats from the old folks that they were going to call the police and have me jailed, for parking in their spots, because I was too young to park in them.

So...yeah. I can sympathize with the author of that post. I agree with her, on most of her points. That said, the hang-tags (and the plates) can be and frequently are abused. The proper course of action, of course, is not to harrangue the person in question. Rather, it's to report the suspected abuse to the cops, and let them handle it. 'Nuff said.
dubhain: (Default)

[personal profile] dubhain 2014-11-25 09:45 am (UTC)(link)
I'm one of those people, like you. Generally speaking, unless I'm having a bad day of it, I start out fine, and deteriorate from there. I've experienced the aggression you describe, first-hand, and often, both for my mobility issues and other 'invisible' illnesses. And it becomes my business, frankly, when there are no more of handicapped parking spaces available, and I'm fairly certain that one or more of them are being used by people abusing the permit system. It becomes very much my business, when I have to go through a great deal of additional pain, or not be able to keep a doctors' appointment or do some other critical task because I can't walk an extra block or more from where I have to park because there are no spaces left.

Does this give me justification for haranguing other drivers parking there, or demanding to verify their placards or plates? No. However, if I've a reasonable idea that someone's abusing the system (such as sprinting cross-campus as I describe above -- not simply walking twenty or even a hundred meters,) then I do believe I've a right to question to myself, and to ask Parking Enforcement to verify. Else, nothing happens, ever, to check the abuse of the system. And believe me — I don't know about the E.U, perhaps people are more respectful of the system, there, but such abuse of it certainly does happen in the U.S. I've had that go-round with family members and acquaintances who believe that it's perfectly acceptable to do so because "Everybody does it."

As to intimidation once removed: If one has a permit for a special entitlement, no matter how much deserved, it's only reasonable to expect that one's going to be asked to verify that they and the entitlement-holder are one and the same. That goes for a driving license, a voter registration, or a workplace access. Otherwise, the entitlement itself — in this case, the placard or plate — being specific to its owner is meaningless, and one may as well simply say that anyone who's 'lucky' enough to obtain one (by legitimate means, by loan, gift, or theft,) is entitled to use it.

Yes, people with disabilities are going to be stared at, and asked stupid questions by the public. Yes, we're going to have to verify the entitlements (if any) which we receive, which do not at all make-up for the difficulty and pain we experience trying to negotiate a world laid-out for people who are not disabled. In a perfect world, this wouldn't happen, and there'd be no abuse of the parking system or any other system instituted to help people like us get around a little more easily.

We do not live in a perfect world.

And I respectfully disagree with your above-all opinion. The public is going to hold their misconceptions, regardless of what we do. The public knows quite well that there are people who abuse every single system ever invented, and that goes double for assistive systems. The public will be far more reassured that as few people as possible are abusing those systems if they've reason to believe that said systems are restricted and that those restrictions are enforced. If not, the public is far more likely to believe that 'everyone else' is getting to abuse the system, and the only reason they don't get to do so is that they can't get their hands upon someone else's placard.

I'm all for educating the public about 'invisible' disabilities. (Hell, I have more than one, so it'll only benefit me in the long run.) I'm all for educating them that it is emphatically not appropriate to harangue and attempt to intimidate an individual they see getting out of a car with a blue placard, simply because they don't walk with an assistive device or use a wheelchair. However, there does have to be a way to enforce the restrictions which naturally must exist regarding who may and may not use a handicapped parking placard or plate. Insisting that such enforcement should never happen, because it somehow will lead to hate crimes and make an individual feel judged is something which I (again respectfully) simply cannot agree with.
jesse_the_k: John Watson regards the void looking puzzled with white puzzle piece floating above him (JW puzzled)

[personal profile] jesse_the_k 2014-11-25 01:49 am (UTC)(link)
Indeed, I adore this sentence:

There are many reasons why a person uses a wheelchair, but the biggest thing to remember is this: if you do not know the person then why they use a wheelchair is none of your business.

Hmm, there do seem to be many excellent EDS-affected writers. Has something changed in the diagnostic weather so that we're hearing more about it?