Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Using Our Children for Perks

The universal accessible parking sign is well known to most folks. Certain parking spots in the United States have designated signs that indicate only those with valid passes can use these spots to park their vehicles. Though states differ on qualifications and fines for abuse, each state seems to offer either a license plate or hanging placard that grants the vehicle close access.

We often find ourselves making quick judgments on those using these passes at local establishments. Many times, seemingly "typical" people walk exceptionally well across the lot to the store and we think "abusing the system." But in reality, we cannot and never should judge a persons abilities by their looks. Many of these folks may have invisible disabilities that do require shorter walks (asthma, emphysema, or neurological disabilities come immediately to mind). So today when I stumbled on an blog promoting the use of such cards for families with autistic children, I thought, "what a great idea!" Some autistic children do have difficulties with parking lots (mine is one of them).

When my kiddo was younger, one of these passes would have prevented much anxiety for all of us. But as I read on, the tone of the blog took a turn for the worse. Language such as "playing the A card" and "perks of Autism" paint a very different reason for obtaining the pass. This language indicates that parents should take advantage of the system because of their burden autistic child.

This blogger may have had well-meaning intentions. It does, indeed, sound like his child benefits from having such a pass. But the language used in this article gives justification for systemic abuse that helps foster resentment of our children by society, in general.

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