Spouse Refusing Sister's Demands to Build Ramp for Her Disabled Son Praised 

A post about a person choosing not to install a ramp outside their new home for their nephew, who requires a wheelchair, has been supported by users on Reddit.

In the post with 9,600 upvotes, user AgencyScared31 wrote that they recently bought a new house. The poster's sister asked to have her husband set up a ramp for her son who is in a wheelchair.

Person on wheelchair going up ramp.
A stock image of a person in a wheelchair going up a ramp. A post about a couple refusing to install a ramp in the front of their new home for their nephew who requires a wheelchair has sparked debate on Reddit. iStock / Getty Images Plus

However, after looking at the specifications, the poster wrote: "We've realized we cannot install a ramp unless we get rid of some of our home's features."

The poster added: "I've explained this to my sister and she is unhappy about our reasonings."

Just over a quarter (26 percent) of adults in the U.S. have some type of disability. This is according to the latest figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, last reviewed in January 2023.

The CDC reports that 11.1 percent of adults in the U.S. have "a mobility disability with serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs."

Digital.gov, a U.S. government website that aims to help the government community deliver better accessible digital services, explains: "Disability is a mismatch between a person and their environment. For the person who isn't able to do something, it's this mismatch that impairs an individual."

The user in the latest post wrote that their sister's husband had installed a ramp at the poster's old house and the home of their brother "because he and my sister want their son to feel welcome in everyone's home."

The poster explained their previous house was "very standard," so installing a ramp was easy. Their new house, however, sits high up and would require a very long ramp.

Houses on a hill in San Francisco.
A stock image of houses sitting on a hilly, green landscape in San Francisco. A post about a spouse who refuses to install a ramp in their new home for their disabled nephew because it would cover most of their tiered garden has been supported by users on Reddit. iStock / Getty Images Plus

"Our front yard is a tiered garden. It is my wife's favorite feature as she is an avid gardener. We probably would not have bought this house if not for the garden as we had our eye on another. If we built a ramp leading to the front door it would cover the majority of the tiered garden," the poster explained.

The only other option would be installing the ramp at the side door. But this "would make the driveway too narrow for many of our vehicles," and there is limited street parking available.

The sister said "she gets the parking problem, but the garden is just a cosmetic thing and not worth making her son feel unwanted or like a second thought."

The poster wrote: "Other family is also unhappy because now our house is unusable for family parties since [my] nephew won't be able to come."

Dr. Christopher Hansen, a licensed professional counselor (LPC) at Thriveworks, a therapy and psychiatry services provider, is a veteran with disabilities. He specializes in life transitions and relationships and has experience of working with those who have disabilities, including veterans.

Regarding the case outlined in the latest Reddit post, Hansen told Newsweek: "I have to agree with the owner. I think, in this case, given what was described of the house, that it's unreasonable to expect them to adjust that much for the ramp, especially given the fact that they bought the house specifically as stated because they liked the garden so much."

The LPC explained: "I don't think they [the poster and their wife] are being selfish." The reason they gave for not installing the ramp "has nothing to do with how they feel about their nephew and everything to do with preserving [the reason] why they bought the house in the first place."

Hansen added: "I have to believe there is a happy medium that could be reached so that the nephew and other relatives do not feel like they are not welcome and they can continue the tradition they seem to value so much."

Several users on Reddit sided with the original poster. User gnothro wrote that "there's plenty of room for compromise: when it's your turn to host, rent an accessible venue. Doesn't have to break the bank, it can be as simple as an AirBNB."

StAlvis posted: "NGL [not gonna lie] that is a preposterous solution for someone WHO DOES NOT *LIVE* THERE."

User JaMarrChasingJoe agreed: "I wouldn't make permanent and expensive modifications to my home for someone who doesn't live there..."

Mvanpeur wrote: "My son is in a wheelchair...We just carry my son in, then carry in his chair...It's a hassle, but worth it to see family, and the whole family is willing to help to make sure it works..."

EmEmPeriwinkle asked: "would a wall mounted flip down ramp work for the garage?...Or, a roll-a-ramp!..."

Some were more understanding of the poster's sister and nephew.

User 0biterdicta posted: "It's an independence thing. Imagine all your siblings and cousins running in and out of the house just fine, but you have to wait for people to carry you. Not to mention, depending on the staircase and the people lifting, it can feel/be quite unsafe...obviously being carried will do in a pinch, but most wheelchair users would prefer to handle these things independently."

Newsweek has contacted the original poster for comment.

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