Using My Handicap Placard For MS

This past November I brought my first car at the age of 32. I absolutely love having a car and am so thankful that I am able to drive.

That being said, sometimes walking from my car to places has caused some trouble, especially in the hot weather Boston has been having. After I bought my car I inquired at the office I work in if I would be able to park in their very small garage.

I have been working there for 9 years but am still considered a newbie as most of my coworkers have been there for more than 20 years! So, there were people ahead of me to get the space that had newly become available.

My boss suggested to me to apply for a handicap placard. It had not occurred to me before to apply for one, but followed his suggestion. I easily found the form online and had my neurologist fill out the appropriate information.

Shortly afterwards I received my placard in the mail. I never had paid much attention to placards, so it was a surprise to find my license photo on the front. Lucky for me, that photo turned out really good, but I use the sleeve that was sent with the placard to cover the photo when I have it hung up in my car.

At first I felt uncomfortable using the placard. I felt like since I “look so good” other people walking by may make comments to me about why I would be using a placard. There is a handicap space across the street from my office where I park every day.

After expressing some concern to a friend and coworker of mine about using the placard, she made me realize that I had no business feeling uncomfortable. Abe, my husband, also helped me understand that I needed to use it, for my own safety.
After repetitive motion, my legs and arms get tingly and numb and walking even a short distance can make me feel fatigued, not to mention a handful of other symptoms. I started to feel more confident and started using the placard outside of parking at work.

One day not too long ago I was walking from my car back to my office after my lunch break and fell down.

I wasn’t badly hurt but twisted my ankle and called my office (thank goodness for cell phones!) to have a couple of the girls come out to help me get back inside. It was sort of wake up call for me that I not only need to move a little slower (though that may not prevent the fall as all of us MSers know) and that in fact, I do have MS and need a little help.

I now have no problem using my placard whenever I need to. I am so thankful that my boss suggested this to me. No one has ever made comments to me, but if they do I am ready for them.

I have started to notice other people who have placards who “look good” and realize that disability (I don’t really like that word) comes in all shapes and sizes. This one happens to be 5 feet and Greek!

About the author: Caroline was diagnosed with MS in 2006. She is currently inspiring those with MS through blogging, her volunteer efforts as a mentor at MS Active Source, her Facebook group; Friends Against the MonSter and also you can ‘like’ Caroline’s page on Facebook right here


About our Co-Founder: With a bachelors in Social Work, Linda is 53 years old, happily married with eight children and 17 grandchildren. Diagnosed with MS in 1995 and now having accepted and truly embraced her new reality, Linda has created She is dedicated to proving that joy can be chosen while living with Multiple Sclerosis. Linda specializes in helping others, especially those with MS attain the lifestyle, independence and happiness amid living with MS.


  1. This is very inspiring, you should really not worry about what other people may say by you using a placard. You should do what is best for your self, for your health.

  2. I’m so glad you blogged about this ! After my head my head injury 10 years I had to use the Ride and was embaressed using it because I was also young and “looked fine”.
    To keep my independance I applied and was approved for a placard also. I still drive even thoug it’s only in the town I live in, but I can go someplace when I want to.
    But when I got it I felt the same way and embaressed. People looked at me like I had a nerve parking with a handicap placard.
    MS and brain injuries have similar neurological issues ; fatigue, balance, etc. When we are sick with other medical problems like a cold it can exacerbate our neurological symptoms. My balance outside has gotten worse so I need to use my cane always when I go out for balance, I’m embaressed even using that so it’s something I have to work on. As the years go by I care less about what others think, I care more about being there for my family.
    i do have some advice with the placard. I hate my photo but I don’t cover it it helps me with being embaressed. I would rather cover the ID # because everything can be copied illegally. My placard is more important to me than money now. I don’t leave it in my car in case something happens to it or it is stolen. So I keep it in my purse so if I’m out with family or friends I can use it if needed.
    Just don’t forget to display it in your car like I did once, lesson learned !
    Also a tipn for information : Neurology Now is a free magazine to people with neurological problems. So google it and you can subscribe to it online and you will have free home delivery of it. there is alot of info re MS.

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