Making Community Outings Safer – How to Obtain Handicapped Parking

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Parents and primary caretakers of children with significant developmental disabilities may be eligible for disability placards, allowing them to park in handicapped parking spaces. These parking spaces are more convenient and closer to the entrance to the doctor’s office, the supermarket’s front doors, the movie theater, etc. Criteria, although similar, are determined individually from state to state.

Common criteria include:

  • Sight impairment; blindness
  • Does not have use of a limb, in particular an arm
  • Cannot walk without assistance or use of assistive device, such as a brace, crutch, etc.
  • Breathing restriction because of lung disease; uses portable oxygen
  • Functional limitations due to cardiac condition
  • Severe limited ability to walk due to arthritis, neurology, or orthopedic condition
  • Responsible for transporting a person with one of the above mentioned disabilities

The criteria that allow families of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder to access a disability placard are bolded.

Each state provides an application, accessible online, for parking placards. As part of the application process, the individual’s disability must be certified by a healthcare provider. Parents wishing to obtain a parking placard should ask the healthcare provider to discuss issues of safety within a certification letter.

Additional Resources:

Last Updated: December 2, 2013

The Center for Autism Research and The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia do not endorse or recommend any specific person or organization or form of treatment. The information included within the CAR Autism Roadmap™ and CAR Resource Directory™ should not be considered medical advice and should serve only as a guide to resources publicly and privately available. Choosing a treatment, course of action, and/or a resource is a personal decision, which should take into account each individual's and family's particular circumstances.


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