Have You Shamed Someone with an Invisible Disability?

Photo of injured woman in wheelchairHave you seen someone parking in a handicapped space only to see that person walk away without even a limp? It’s something that many people get frustrated about, and so they try to do something about it. There’s only one problem, often those people have an invisible disability, and you might be doing more harm than you thought.

You May Have Shamed Someone with an Invisible Disability

At the Target store in Tulsa Hills, a local woman returned to her car after shopping with her 4-year-old son and found a disturbing note. It said that the writer had watched the woman carry her toddler away after parking in a handicapped space. It said she didn’t have a disability and she should be ashamed for taking up handicapped parking, but there was something the writer didn’t understand. That woman’s child was the one who has a disability.

This woman’s little boy usually rides in a wheelchair, but due to an accident earlier in the day, the chair’s cushion needed to be washed. So, the woman carried her 4-year-old son from store to store, sometimes without the aid of a cart. When not in his chair, the boy may appear like any other little boy, but his circumstances tell a much different story.

Does Shaming Hurt People with Disabilities?

Finding such a note on her vehicle after a hard day errands and taking care of her son was disheartening, but the woman took it as a challenge. She shared the note on social media and explained why it was wrong for someone to shame her or others in that way. That social media post has since been shared almost 2,500 times and over 660 people have commented on it.

Not every disability is easily seen by outside observers. Millions of Americans have these invisible disabilities, or care for someone who does. However, the world at large often doesn’t recognize them or their struggle. This leads to concerned citizens shaming people they think are taking advantage of the system, but this often hurts the people who have to live with these ailments day-by-day.

How Should You Handle This Situation?

Instead of confronting people you think are break handicapped parking rules, take down their license plate number and report it to the police. They know if the person truly has a right to be in that space or not, and they can take the appropriate actions. Don’t just assume that because you can’t see a person’s disability, it must not exist.

This has been a message from the Tulsa disability attorneys at Troutman & Troutman—you can learn more about this and other disability issues by visiting our blog, Twitter and Facebook.



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