Needing to get a picture ID, Marie and I went into the black hole named the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Despite many years of revamping, that place can still take 4 hours to navigate. It was with this background that I bring up the option of the line for people with disabilities. Actually, there WAS no line. Tempting. MMMMMMMM. Marie has a disability. Teaching her to be more independent, I was actually only accompanying her while showing her that SHE can maneuver through the system. Without parental assistance, she really DID have a disability. But I have raised my children not to see their disabilities but their abilities. She may not talk or hear, but, armed with all of the appropriate paperwork filled out and the certificates of existence she needed, (birth certificate and social security card,) she has the capabilities of writing what she wants to say and reading back what the other person writes to get her ID herself. She can function as fully as a non-deaf teenager in the registry. And that meant she was fully capable of waiting in line like everyone else.
There have been many times in life that a disability line looked tempting, especially handicapped parking. What parent of a child with a disability hasn’t dreamed of getting that front row spot. Granted, many parents of children with disabilities DESERVE that front row spot, but not us. My kiddos can walk fine. No need to park there, even if the only other spot was a half mile away. But it certainly was tempting…
Just like that line at the registry. After about an hour of snaking through the regular line, the disability line looked awfully lonely. Marie could just zip in there and be done with it. But Marie isn’t disabled. She can communicate fine, just differently than others. She does not need a special line.
And such is our life. To let the children think they can use a disability line to get through life would be unfair to them. They have been raised to know they can do everything anyone else can do, they just may have to do things differently. No disabilities here!



The Apple Tree: Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities and Remaining Sane
Authored by Linda Petersen
The link to the book:


Comments on: "That Disability Line Looked Awfully Tempting!" (38)

  1. Good on you ..well done to Marie for doing it alone !

  2. Like I always tell my kids, never trade short term personal relief for long term personal growth.

  3. Love this message. She isn’t diabled just differently-abled. Great message for everyone out there.

  4. I love your slant on this. You are doing your children a great service.

  5. That was such a great life lesson you taught her–and are teaching all your children.

  6. You are raising Marie to be victorious not a victim. She will go far with this excellent philosophy!

  7. I love this. I have been given the paper work for the handicap parking spot on many occasions and never filled it. At first, she was in a stroller and than at time went by, she started to walk…. Later than others but she did it! I never filled that form. We do travel with paperwork explaining her disability, I do signal that she might require more time to board a plane but that’s about it. We get special passes for theme parks but haven’t used any of them yet. If we feel she can manage, we allow her to do just that. I’m glad, I’m not the only mom like that!

  8. My son is high functioning autism and he don’t know he has a diagnoses of any kind or that he is different. I tell all my kids to do the best you can do and that is fine as along as you are really trying and doing the best you can do. If others pick on him, leave him out or are mean it isn’t because there is something wrong with him it is because there is something wrong with them they just aren’t nice people. That is life not everyone is nice. Nice people or good people don’t pick on others because they aren’t how they think they should be or do things the way they think they should do them. Everyone is different and everyone dose things different. If my son is in the wrong just like any of my kids I will let him know that this is a better way or you shouldn’t do it that way because what ever reason. I have been told by a few people I should try to get a thing for the car for my son. I don’t think he will get one but I also don’t think we need it it would be nice to be able to park close because I have 4 kids but not because he needs it. Really he is lazy been trying to get him to move more we don’t need to park closer for him we need to park farther really.

  9. How smart of you to raise your children to be self-reliant! I am hearing impaired only for the last 7 years and still learning how to function in work and stores. Thank you for teaching us to be strong and look at abilities NOT disabilities!

    • My daughter regularly uses her telephone to write what she wants to order at restaurants. Like at Burger Kind she types small french fries, cheeseburger no pickle, milk. She’s been doing it this way for years. Or, she will motion to her ears to indicate she is deaf and ask for a piece of paper and pencil.

  10. Well done Marie! And mom!

    Years ago I assisted a young man paralysed from his neck down. He told me how he had attended a music festival and the lines to the bar had been long. He started to shout “the cripple is coming” and everyone let him through until he was quite in the front. There a young lady asked in a friendly but curious maner why that would be a reason not to have to queue like others. His answer had been truthful “it’s not. But what we can and can not do depends on our own attitude or the expectations of others. And I knew I could skip the line as others don’t expect enough from me”. Honestly, he had great sense of humor, didn’t normally take advantage of his disability but often made people think a second time. And he got his drink and had a few good lauggs with the only one who caught him.

    • People who are mobility impaired are definitely appropriate to use a handicapped line if maneuvering through a regular line would be too tiring for them. Or the elderly who have problems walking. But it was so annoying to me to be sent through the “special” line at the airport, I guess because they thought I was “old”! NO!

  11. georgiakevin said:

    I always enjoy your work but after reading your fine post i like you and your work that much more and more my admiration for you grows exponentially. There are far too many people who use and abuse their disabilities as a crutch rather than using the flag of finding ways around their disabilities as flags of honor.

  12. Powerful! You continue to amaze and inspire me. I consider finding your blog and book a major blessing in my life. Praying for you and yours to have many Easter Blessings.

  13. Many so-called able people i.e. without disabilities could learn a lot from you!

  14. Right after my stroke, I admit I gazed longingly at the “disabled” parking spots, empty, within short walk of the storefront – but what you have to state, and promise will never get better – when you are required to say, “I can’t navigate the world as it is now, or maybe, ever”, under oath –
    When you must spend boatloads of time promising, adhering to and believing that ‘acceptable to others’ story to be true for you – Welll….
    I decided the overall cost of getting a primo parking spot, was, in the end, not worth it – 🙂
    Bravo on your approach!

  15. We do use the disabled parking space, not because it is closer to the place where we are going but because we need the wider space so I can open the car doors fully in order to lift my daughter in and out of her wheelchair. It would be nice if more people who can manage with a regular sized space left the wide ones for those of use who genuinely need the room. When it comes to queuing though I am happy to line up with everyone else as my daughter has no problems waiting. It is great that you have equipped your kids with the means to navigate the world as independently as possible, playing the disabled card sends the wrong message about special needs to both those who have them and those who don’t.

    • I think the handicapped spaces and lines should be saved for families like you who have the added work of having a child in a wheelchair! I agree with the extra space needed. I’ve driven a handicapped van for my work and HATE it when there is no room to let down the lift

  16. Your a great parent and teacher. Thanks for sharing this!

  17. Amen, sister of the heart. I agree with you, totally, and that mental attitude will be the difference that carries those children through life. Praises, and Blessings to you!

  18. This boosted my heart in its message of never loosing the ‘can-do’ even if it’s difficult. Thank you!

  19. You are an amazing mom. You are raising STRONG kids.

  20. Go on you… Your children know that you are doing well by them and making them stronger with every choice you make.

  21. I wish more people saw it this way. Yet, having said that, there’s a reason for the disabled queue and, if Marie is entitled to use it, which she is, I have no objections to her jumping the queue.

    My biggest irritation is the number of able-bodied people using the disabled parking spaces and queues because the are “doing something on behalf of a disabled person.” Yeah! Right!

  22. Great attitude.mit will stand her in good stead. In my job I hear so many people start a conversation by saying ‘I’m disabled,’ and using it as an excuse for bad behaviour or to get special treatment.

  23. Hi Linda. I guess I’m on the fence about this. As far as the disabled line yes I feel I need to use it. Not so much because I’m blind but my mental illness of extreme anxiety in crowds and such a place as the registration for your ID card. Both times I went there (I had my wallet accidentally thrown away don’t ask!) I used that line. It’s for people with mental illness too. If it hadn’t been there I honestly don’t think I would have been able to go and do it or would have had major anxiety throughout. I absolutely agree that people without the need to use them shouldn’t. But they’re there for a reason and I guess it’s the individual’s judgment whether they need to or not. I’m curious if Marie told you she felt she needed to be in the line what your response would be? I think it’s a more complex issue than what you’re saying and guess I just wanted to say there’s another side to it. But yeah always love your writing! And I’m glad Marie can communicate so well with hearing people. As a blind person I’m always curious about the deaf and how they work around not talking you know with their voice, and not hearing. So I’m glad she can have a computer that she can write stuff on.

    • Anyone who needs the line for whatever reason should use it! I am not advocating people not use the disability line, I was just saying that Marie doesn’t need it! As much a she thinks she is special, she still has to wait in line with everyone else!

  24. Reblogged this on counselorssoapbox and commented:
    Ever wonder about those disablity lines and parking spaces? This post says a lot about what it means to be disabled and the role your attitude plays in what you can and can’t do. It touched me and I hope you will find it as touching as I did.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Tag Cloud