Parents of children with autism often choose to share information about their children with their local communities. Local awareness about a child’s diagnosis can help protect the child and prevent the crisis situations that unfortunately can result from misinterpretation of the child’s actions and behavior.
Katie Schneider Ruschman is a devoted volunteer at our Walk Now for Autism Speaks in Cincinnati and the mother of two children, one of whom has autism. Recently, Katie decided to take extra precautions to display this information in her neighborhood. We recently checked in with Katie to describe her experience:
“I have a friend, Andy, who is on our city council. I sent him the following message on April 26th:
Wondering if the city has any signs or could get a sign to put up on our street to warn drivers about an autistic child living on the street! They are similar to deaf or blind child signs. Parker doesn't know to dangers of running into the street or to look both ways. As much as we have taught him, there is always that one time that he forgets and just takes off.
Please let me know what steps we need to take to get one.
Andy then emailed the police chief of Alexandria as well as the public works superintendent and it was taken care of. It was amazingly simple.
It was installed yesterday, June 26th. So it only took 2 months!
This is the first sign in Alexandria, but a second one has already been put up so we now have two! I am thinking they are going to be getting more calls after I posted the picture of it!
I want all families to know it was a simple email sent, so all you need to do is ask their city. Everyone wants to see our kids be safe. The more families know that the sign exists, the more families will ask for one, the more cities will approve the sign, the more kids will be safe! If one child is not harmed by a car because of a sign, I have done my job on this earth!
To an average person, it’s just a sign, but to an autistic family, it’s much more than that, its awareness!”
For more information about keeping your child safe in the community, check out our Autism Safety Project Safety in the Community page here! And view a list of Safety Products in our Resource Library here.