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Old 01-08-2009, 05:30 PM   #1
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Handicapped Parking for autism

I am a long time Dis member....am not currently planning a WDW trip but thought this forum could help.

My severly autistic daughter is 8. She can walk just fine. But, as she gets older, I am finding that safety in parking lots has become an issue. Especially at large lots like Sams Club where we might have to park far away. Having to hold her hand all the way to the store entrance is getting hard to do as she resists hand holding for that long. I am frantic that she will someday run away from me and possibly get hit by cars that don't see her.

Do you think it is possible for me to get a permanent "handicapped" parking pass for this reason? How do I do this - through our pediatrician?

Thanks for any info. or thoughts on this.
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Old 01-08-2009, 06:16 PM   #2
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That is my thread on handicapped parking laws but am tired out this week and had to stop and will finish it.

She probably will not qualify for a disabled parking permit unless the DMV decides that she qualifies under the part that says needs to depend on a person to get around. Some states give permits only to the driver, some do not even consider blindness a qualifier, and one state gives a temporary placard to women who just had a premie or C-section. If your state is not on my list then google or I can look it up for you.

WDW has in each parking area reserved parking near the trams for disabled guests and all you do is explain to the CM that you need disabled parking but do not have a placard.

The best answer is to use a harness or leash for elopers but I prefer the harness as the weight is not on that one arm. You can get a pushchair for her and strap her in so she does not elope and autistic kids often like the privacy of the pushchair as it keeps people away from them and all they have to do is sit and play with a worry toy or gameboy. No stress or crowds to overstimulate them.

Forgot to add that the forms are available on line and at certain government offices which varies from state to state. Depending on the state it can be village, county, or DMV for example. You print out the form or pick on up and take it to a person as listed on the form. Again it varies from state to state on who is qualified but pediatricians in your state would definitely qualify. Most states accept chiropractors and some accept nurses and psychiatrists. Some only allow in state persons but others will allow the applicant to use an out of state doctor. That is why I made that list as it is so confusing at times.

Last edited by mechurchlady; 01-08-2009 at 06:23 PM. Reason: Nap time done come and wnet.
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Old 01-08-2009, 07:26 PM   #3
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The form here in Illinois outlines very specific categories, but overall it varies from state to state. Someone in your pediatrician's office should know, either the doc, nurse, or social worker.

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Old 01-08-2009, 08:29 PM   #4
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I would suggest going to your State official website and look for handicap parking rules. There should be both a form which has to be signed by a doctor as well as the requirements to get a handicap tag.
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Old 01-08-2009, 08:33 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Mary976 View Post
Someone in your pediatrician's office should know, either the doc, nurse, or social worker.

I agree with Cheshire Figment; you should be able to find at least some information for your state online.

Many doctor's offices do have the forms or have access to the internet so that they can print the form for you. I would contact the pediatrician - OR, maybe better, if you have doctor who deals with the autism, contact that doctor. They may have a better understanding of your concerns.
It is a safety concern not only for your child, but also for other drivers who are in the parking lot.
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Old 01-08-2009, 09:35 PM   #6
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I know parents with autistic or disabled children who also have impulse control problems that use a harness to protect their child from running off, or even use one of the larger strollers just for that purpose. I don't want to argue about who has a "right" to use handicapped parking but I'm not sure if an autistic child would qualify unless they also have a mobility challenge. The permit applications are very specific, including lack of ability to walk a certain distance without resting, etc.- there is nothing on the application that includes the issue mentioned by the OP. Even if a permit was issued, what would prevent the child from running the other way? Perhaps if it's an issue of tactile sensitivity with the hand holding, the child and parent could be hooked together by soft cuffs or a strap, etc where the hand itself wouldn't need to be touched and/or the child has control by holding onto something vs. being held. I would think an O.T. could think of a creative solution. I used to be an O.T. and my daughter is now ABA certified- I know she has come across similar issues but I'm sure the solution would need to be different for each child.---Kathy

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Old 01-08-2009, 09:57 PM   #7
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We have a handicapped parking placard for our profoundly disabled son (just turned 9.) We live in Maine, and one of the qualifiers is "neurological disability" - our pediatrician confirmed that it was a hazard for him to have to walk long distances due to "elopism" and bolting.

See if you can work with your pediatrician, and talk to your state's ADA office as well.
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Old 01-08-2009, 11:04 PM   #8
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I made no promises when I posted as I have spent countless hours reading up on disabled parking laws and am still not done. First we need to know what state the original poster lives in. State forms for all the states I have seen so far are online. I specifically worded my response in a certain way as I know that the laws so vary that it is impossible to say anything specific.

The ADA cannot help on this matter. The laws are there online for people to see and while some are too strict they all conform to the ADA minimum requirements to provide access to the disabled.

Can a child or its legal guardian get the disabled placard under neurological disorders? That depends on the intent of the law. If the law was meant only to provide access to people who cannot walk then the answer is NO. Should you use neurological disorder to get the placard? I would do it but I would hope that someone in government did not crack down on disabled parking. There is a lot of heat over the so called preferential treament of the disabled like free parking at meters and unlimited parkng in green zones. I have seen enough articles in my research to see the abuse of the system through people borrowing granny's placard, valets who steal placards, and people who use their temporary placard even after they are well.

I will wait to find out where the original post lives before giving more advice.
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Old 01-08-2009, 11:10 PM   #9
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I have a 5 yr old son w/ moderate autism. He is also a "bolter" and is quite good and getting out of your grip when he wants to. And he is fast!

He is receiving an Autism Service Dog this August that will be trained in tracking, behavior disruption, as well as tethering! He actually had a Service Dog for 9 months but they were having difficulties bonding so the dog was placed with another child and they (4 Paws for Ability) are training a new dog for my son.

Anyway, I miss that safety of taking him into stores knowing he can't take off because he is tethered to his Service Dog. Hopefully August will be here soon!
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Old 01-08-2009, 11:29 PM   #10
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I don't know what state you are in but I do know that deaf people can get a handicapped placard in Florida because of the danger of not hearing an approaching car behind them.

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Old 01-09-2009, 09:45 PM   #11
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In the state of Florida almost anyone can get a placard it seems. It's really a problem here for those of us who cannot even visit a place of business if we don't have space for our lifts. My biggest gripe are the elderly people here who do the "mall walker" program, sprinting around the mall with weights and then who have a placard so they don't have to walk too far to the parking lot after their workout. I know this has nothing to do with the OP, but the placards were originally intended for people who could not walk distances or who need the additional space for a wheelchair lift. I really don't know how being close to the store entrance would help someone who might bolt anyway and run the opposite direction or even for someone with a hearing impairment who couldn't hear vehicles coming no matter where they are in the parking lot- I just don't get it. Sorry for venting- I know the OP has a legitimate challenge and concern for her child but I feel there should be some kind of solution- for instance placards issued where someone cannot take the lift spaces. I, for one, don't need to be close to the entrance but must have the lift space- if they were placed further back in the parking lot they would not be nearly as desirable and/or wouldn't compete with those whose needs ARE to be closer, such as someone with a heart or lung condition who can barely walk into the store to get an ECV, etc.---Kathy

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Old 01-09-2009, 10:48 PM   #12
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Due to food reactions I am on hiatus on my finishing that thread.
I really would like to know what the laws are for Florida that pertain to the deaf getting a disabled placard. I read the state info again and still cannot find the part for deaf drivers. I will add it to my thread when my stomach calms down.
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Old 08-15-2011, 10:41 PM   #13
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We live in Ontario Canada.

We have had a handicap parking pass for our dd2 for a year now. She has autism and is a runner. We also have her service dog now. makes life so much eaiser to get from the car to the store without too much trouble.
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Old 12-20-2011, 02:16 PM   #14
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we have one for our daughter she is almost 5. She also has a service dog. My daughter is a runner and doesn't talk much out in public so we got our doctor here in Ontario Canada to get us one.
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Old 12-20-2011, 04:00 PM   #15
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DS used to have panic attacks and I was in constant fear of him getting into traffic, he has moderate CP but can run when he really wants to. In Maryland you can get a placard for Neuro issues, but his is for CP and is issued in his name. When we were in the wandering/elopement phase I would thread a belt backwards thru his belt loops and hook a dog leash onto the back where he could not reach it. I could tuck it in his back pocket when not needed, but it was handy to grab when I saw him getting wound up.
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