When our son with diagnosed with autism at age 2, I never considered getting a handicap placard for our cars. We had another baby a week later, and the reality of how difficult managing multiple children in busy parking lots set in. Who do you take out of the carseat first? Should I use a stroller? Then how will I push a shopping carriage? We’ve all been there. Luckily for me, my husband does most of the grocery shopping, and we managed to shop all together or individually on weekends. Divide and conquer.
However, when I got pregnant with my third child, I realized I would never be able to leave my house again. How would I manage an unpredictable 5-year-old with special needs, a very mobile and precocious 2-year-old, plus a third baby, all while surrounded by traffic? The final straw was when my daughter nearly got hit in a parking lot. I felt embarrassed. If I couldn’t manage these two kids while being pregnant, how would I manage three kids?
I finally did it. I looked up how to get a handicap parking placard for my son, so we could get those glorious front row spots. And I am so glad we did. It has changed many a “no” into a “yes.” It has kept us safe, reduced my stress, and saved us precious time. Our handicap placard has improved our lives. We won’t have it forever, but right now, we need it.
If you’re in a similar situation, here’s how to get a Massachusetts handicap placard for your loved ones.
First, download and print this application for a disabled persons handicap placard. You need to have a healthcare provider fill out part of the application. You have 30 days from the date the form is signed by your healthcare provider to either mail the application to the medical affairs office (address is on application) or go to the Haymarket Center Registry of Motor vehicles in Boston.
We opted to take our son to Boston rather than mail in the application. The RMV will need to take a picture of your child and then will give you the handicap placard in person. If you mail in your application, you’ll be notified when your application is approved then required to go to your local RMV to have a photo taken. Eventually, you’ll receive your handicap placard in the mail.
I encourage all parents of special needs children to consider carefully if a handicap parking placard is appropriate for your family. If we only had my autistic son, we would not have or need a parking pass.
Our placard is good for two years. If we feel like we need to renew it, we will. But we know at some point it will not be necessary and we will be grateful it was available when we did need it.