Monday, October 8, 2007

Handicap Accessible

If you have never had an occasion arise where you were in need of a handicap accessible entrance, then you probably won't care what I have to say in this post. One of the things that has bothered me since even before Thomas was diagnosed, but even more so since he has become too heavy to carry around all the time and spends much more time in public in his stroller, is the lack of handicap accessible entrances. Sure, all the public buildings have those nifty blue stickers affixed to their doors to let us know this is where we should enter. And lucky for us I have gotten good at pulling Thomas in backwards through these doors with one hand on the stroller and one hand holding the door open. Or by using my rear end to push open the door while pulling Thomas through backwards hoping the door doesn't slam shut on him before I can yank the stroller through.

I guess I don't understand exactly how these entrances qualify as handicap accessible. Is it because there is a sticker on them? Or because there is a ramp cut into the sidewalk leading up to the door? Because for sure, the door is in no way handicap friendly. I cannot imagine Thomas, years from now sitting in a wheelchair on his own, trying to pull open one of those doors, then being able to back up enough to keep the door open while he rolls on through. Nor can I imagine him in his walker trying to accomplish the same thing without losing his balance and falling flat on his face.

What really gets me the most is when we go to his specialists offices, and they have no automatic doors. Come on now, 98% of your patients are handicapped in one way or another and yet you don't have a way for them to safely enter your office without a two man crew accompanying them.

And while I'm on my rant, which is probably making no sense at all as I ramble on and on, why can't people hold open doors for us? Is it so difficult to take five extra seconds to hold that door open for that frazzled mom who is huffing and puffing behind you trying to push her child in his stroller and scramble for the door before it slams shut either in her kid's face or on his legs? What ever happened to chivalry, or basic human kindness? I am always shocked when someone actually does hold open a door, and I'm sure I embarrass them with the mountains of gratitude and praise I heap upon them as I marvel at their kindness. But it is such a rare occurrence that I find myself wanting them to know that they have just made my day a little easier and reminded me that there are in fact a few decent human beings out there, willing to take five seconds from their lives to help out a mom like me. And to those big corporations, those doctor offices, shopping centers and anyone else, it takes more than a little blue sticker on your door to make it handicap accessible.


Mete said...

I know exactly what you're talking about! I think that building designers have decided that "no stairs" is the same as "handicapped accessible". In reality, stairs are not the only obstacle to a parent trying to push a child in a stroller, or someone maneuvering themselves in a wheelchair. I've gotten bruises from some heavy duty doors when trying to push my son's stroller through them. And you're right, it's just awful, but the doctors offices and medical centers are often the worst offenders.

Shannon said...

I am new to your blog so I don't know your story (it's late and I didn't back read too far)but some of what you are saying sounds so much like my little guy. He has CP with mixed tone but started speaking at about 3. How are your little guys hands? I ask because Ben signed until he could speak. We watched a lot of Signing Times.

About the doors-I KNOW!

heather said...

hugs ... i wish there were more people out there that give that 5 seconds of there time up..

i think you should send that letter to the state government.. maybe get a petition goin or something... i dont know but i wish i had the answers