There have been a lot of comments swirling around disability parking. Here in Virginia, autism is specifically mentioned as a condition which impairs judgment while walking, and therefore have a right to disability parking. However, there is an attitude that handicapped/disability parking is only for people with visible problems walking.
Which is, of course, absurd. Here in Virginia:
People with heart conditions are permitted disability placards and plates. Can you tell a person has a heart condition by looking at them?
Did you know that deaf people are also permitted disability placards and plates? Can you tell a person is deaf by looking at them?
Did you know dementia (including Alzheimer's Disease) qualifies for a disability placard or plate? Can you tell if someone has Alzheimer's or other dementia by looking at them?
Not only autism, but any developmental disability or amentia which impairs judgment qualifies a person for a disability placard or plate. Can you tell if a person has a developmental disability or amentia by looking at them?
We have a placard for Joey. He doesn't bolt often, but when he does, it is dangerous. It has made a huge difference in our lives, when disability parking is appropriately placed next to a building, close to the entrance (as opposed to across the street or halfway down the block. Why do people do that? Those spaces help hardly anyone!) Offering disability parking that requires my child to be bused elsewhere (such as, say Williamsburg, or some of the local functions here) is also useless for us. (fortunately, Williamsburg has a lot for the taverns with a disability space, right behind the taverns we like to use. It's across a street, but at least doesn't require the shuttling- it's a real shame they shut down the other closer parking lots. If not for those tavern spots, we probably wouldn't be able to visit Williamsburg at all!) So even with the placard, life isn't all accessible and peaches and cream, but it does help a lot.
And for those folks who think you need to or should have a visible disability to have a placard and use those spots, I can only say, I hope you never need one. Seriously.