Public Ramps for Handicapped, Overhangs, and Handicapped Parking Spaces! Oh My!

Caution! You are about to enter a rant zone!

Ramps. Handicapped Parking spaces. Overhangs. Or lack thereof!

This month I’ve taken my son to 2 different VBS’ for special needs “kids” (even for over age 22! love it!). David is such a social butterfly that he is totally in his element. But for some reason, this year in particular I ran into some frustrating challenges.

1. No Overhang – At the first VBS, it rained on the second day when I went to drop him off. That’s not really such a big deal under “normal” conditions because I can just whip out an umbrella. But since David is in a wheelchair and we do not have a modified van for a wheelchair, the process of getting the wheelchair out of the trunk and David out of the car can take a little while. If it hadn’t been for the volunteer who met us as we pulled up, we both would have been soaked. There was no overhang at any entrance and this is a “Mega-Church”! Now I’m not really one to complain, at least I don’t think I am, but my friend, who is a strong advocate for special needs at our state’s capital happened to be there and filmed the whole thing to show to senators and congressmen.

2. Ramps for the handicapped (or lack of them) – The second VBS  David went to is one he’d been to for 3 or 4 years now but for some reason, this was the first time I noticed that this church had very few ramps for wheelchairs. I think it’s because this is the first year they told me to drop him off and pick him up closer to his classroom.  When I went to pick him up the first day, I ended up wheeling him halfway around the property to finally find a ramp. I know I could have eased his chair over the curbed but I was curious to see where the nearest ramp was. It was back at the front entrance!  It was sad to see that such a wonderful church that caters to special needs children had very few ramps for the many entrances to their buildings.

But on a positive note! There were some wonderful “good samaritans” at this church. Several young men ( 16 – 20 years old), when they saw our plight on the second day, took it upon themselves to walk out with us every day and lift David’s chair over several steps to the parking lot.

3. Sunny Handicapped Parking Spaces – Have you ever noticed that, although handicapped parking spaces are placed close to entrances, that they are also almost always without shade? That’s not so bad if you have a modified van that you can easily and quickly wheel the wheelchair in and out of like my friend whose son also goes every year, but  for those of us who don’t have that setup, it can be pretty miserable in the heat of the summer! So usually, instead of parking in the sunny handicapped spot in the summer, I find a shady spot at the far end of the lot so I can take up 2 spaces if I need to and not melt quite so much.

Here is the cherry on top. I was about to pull into a handicapped spot that gave me enough room to place the wheelchair beside the car to get David out and that was right next to a ramp when I saw that someone had thrown several full garbage bags into the spot. I couldn’t believe it! So I took a picture.

Now again, I must reiterate. I’m not one to gripe and complain and nit-pick. (but don’t ask my husband to verify :) )

But these  situations really should be reviewed for the consideration of our handicapped loved ones and their caregivers in our churches and society.

Whew! Now that that’s off my chest, David had a wonderful time again and the people were so good with our “kids”!


“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let  endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4


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