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Are There Perks to Having A Disability?

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We often focus on the limitations of living with a disability. But are there any perks? Let’s find out.

1. Disney World and Line Jumping

I’m still trying to wrap my head around being paid to guide rich people around Disney World, using my disability to help them jump ahead of the line. I don’t know whether to be shocked and disgusted or whether to hop aboard the gravy train!

Blatant money grabbing aside, it is essential for people who use wheelchairs to have special access to amusement parks. They use specific ride entrances at places like Disney World, while at other amusement parks, they go up the exit ramp and wave for someone to let them on the ride.

Sometimes you have to move up in the line to wait for a designated amusement-ride car that is designed for wheelchairs. That happened at Disney World on the fantastic Toy Story Midway Mania ride, and it happened again just a few days ago at the Columbus Zoo on the Dinosaur Island boat ride.

So line jumping at the amusement park is a perk, but it’s an essential perk.

2. Wheelchair Parking Spots

Of course, good parking spots are another item reserved for people who use wheelchair accessible vans. This is another essential perk, as their accessible vehicles need extra room that is not available elsewhere in the parking lot.

A lot of times there are legitimate people who walk, but have grave problems in walking, they can’t trek the length of a parking lot to get to and from their vehicles.

Don’t begrudge them this “privilege,” as they also need to be close to the building so they don’t get stuck in the snow.

3. Seeing Eye Dogs

Hey, he gets to bring his dog to the restaurant? Why can’t I?

Because he has a visual impairment. Having a service dog is essential for him to get around. Other service dogs are needed to alert parents when their child is about to have a seizure.

Of course, service dogs become trusted friends and it’s always a perk to have them around. But they are absolutely necessary.

More From This Author: Can I Ask You a Personal Question?

4. Are people that are deaf “listening” to me?

I have to admit, much of my knowledge about people who are deaf comes from watching “Switched at Birth.” The show let out this secret: “If I close my eyes, I don’t have to hear what you’re saying.” 

One other “perk” that comes with being deaf is that you don’t have to worry about losing the attention of the person you’re talking to. They have to look at you, read your lips and follow your hands.

5. Discount cards and free memberships

These are some of my discount cards. Whatever they are worth.

Here in Ohio, people with disabilities can get a Golden Buckeye discount card just like senior citizens. However, this isn’t a gold mine, as not as many stores recognize the card like they did in past decades.

The national parks allow a lifetime free access pass for people with disabilities. It provides free admission to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas. This could be the best perk of all.

To get an access pass, you can pick it up for free at a national park or fill out this application and mail it in with a $10 handling fee. In some parks, this pass could also give you a 50 percent discount on swimming, camping and boat-launching fees.

While all of these items may qualify as perks, don’t hate on people with disabilities. Maybe they would rather enjoy the “perk” of trading places with you.

The Mobility Resource reached out to their fans and asked you what you saw as some of the perks to having a disability.  This is what you said:

See Also: Exploitation or Entrepreneurship? Disney, Disabilities and the Black Market

Photo Credit: My Parking Sign

Feel free to join the discussion. What are your additional thoughts?




About Jennifer Gorman

When not being "Mom-ed" by her wonderful daughter, cooking for great husband Jeff D Gorman, Jennifer is homeschooling, learning about canning and co-producing with her husband for The Mobility Resource. Jennifer contracted polio as a child in the early 70s as a result of poor medical conditions in her native Vietnam. She enjoys motherhood, interviewing people, traveling, eating the finest foods at great restaurants and roaming her three acres of land.

10 Responses

  1. avatar Carlos H. says:

    Shoes lasting longer. Even tho I am an amputee I am Huge shoe person I take great pride in my right foot shoes that I own. I probably spend too much on one shoe, but the fact they last a lot longer and dont get as dirty.
    This is probably one of my favorite perks.

    • avatar Jennifer Gorman says:

      Carlos, I do agree! I have 2 pair of shoes. One for winter and one for summer they’ve lasted me at least 5 years!

  2. avatar Neill Conroy says:

    There are many “benefits” to being disabled, but I would trade them all in in a heartbeat to be able to walk normally, without extreme pain, like the normals do. Extreme pain all the time, and worse pain when I try and walk or transfer, is horrible and there are no possible benefits that offset it.

    • avatar Jennifer Gorman says:

      Neill, I am sorry you are always in extreme pain. Yes, I agree with you. I’d rather to walk or not have a disability at all. I wholeheartedly believe in God’s promises of having a plan for me (Jeremiah 29). Given that however, if God would like to grant a miracle ~ I’ll be the first in line!

  3. [...] the summer, fellow The Mobility Resource writer Jennifer Gorman raised an intriguing question, “Are There Perks to Having a Disability?” Response from our readers proved mixed. Personally, I’m in the “yes” camp. I believe with [...]

  4. [...] Another demonstration of this self-aware humor is in Mike’s list of advantages to living with CP. Perpetual rock star parking and never wearing out a pair of shoes are just the beginning of the benefits. [...]

  5. avatar Subversiva says:

    Have to say the Social Security and Medicare are pretty good perks. Before I was disabled I was unable to get insurance. Now I have great insurance at a low cost.

  6. avatar Jennifer Gorman says:

    Subversiva – isn’t it sad what it takes to get insurance?

  7. [...] illegally in handicap accessible parking spaces. Though I often joke that handicap parking is one of the “perks” of my disability, the reality is that it’s a necessity, not a convenience. I get around in a minivan that’s [...]

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