‘Autistic Child’ Signs In Rochester Are Among First In The Nation

The yellow, diamond-shaped sign in the front yard of the Eberhart home has a message not many motorists have seen: “Autistic Child.”

Rochester is among the first cities in the nation to make the signs available for residents who request them, and the city has only four so far.

“We hope people take it into account and slow down,” said Eberhart, whose 7-year-old son, Ryan, has autism and unexpectedly can run toward the street.

The city first responded to requests to post signs in 2005. Families formerly needed City Council permission, but the council waived that requirement this month. Now families can get them (or a “Blind Child” or “Deaf Child” sign) by completing an application and paying a $200 fee.

Brad Trahan, whose 6-year-old son, Reece, has autism, thinks his family’s sign does more than just warn motorists to slow down.

It also has helped educate neighbors about the boy’s autism while giving vital information that could help in case of emergency calls, Trahan says. Reece, who is nonverbal, might hide in a closet and not respond to calls from firefighters, Trahan explained.

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