Father pushes for 'autism child' signs to slow drivers
HOMOSASSA (FOX 13) - A father in Citrus County says he's sick of people speeding past his house, making it dangerous for his son with autism to play outside. He called the county about getting a sign, warning drivers to beware a child with autism lives nearby, but was told no such sign exists.
Some children with autism are prone to wandering so Chris Jaymes thought a warning sign, similar to "blind child" or "deaf child" signs, could help alert drivers to be extra cautious as they near his home.
Jaymes says car after speeding car flies by his home on West Spicey Hill Drive in Homosassa. He and other neighbors with children have put up signs warning drivers to slow down.
“We were even to the point where we were going to put cones in the middle of the road, just so people would have to slow down,” Jaymes said. “Car after car, especially in the morning.”
His son, 3-year-old Grayson, is his cause for concern. Grayson has severe autism. He doesn't respond to or understand verbal commands.
“For me to say, ’Stop. Don't go any further,’ when he's going towards the road, he doesn't get the gist of that,” Jaymes explained.
He hoped a call to Citrus County officials about installing an "autistic child" sign in his front yard would help slow speeding drivers. He didn't get the response he was hoping for.
He was told he'd have to contact the Department of Transportation or someone at the state level.
“They basically have said there's no such sign; they have no ability to put a sign up like that,” Jaymes said. “It's just basically passing the buck to somebody else, and not really getting anywhere but the run around.”
No one in the County Administrator's Office could be reached for comment on Wednesday. Jaymes has temporarily drawn up his own signs and put them on each end of his yard.
But he says this is bigger than his child alone. On change.org, he's started a petition to push the national Department of Transportation to make Autism Awareness signs available in every community, upon parental request.
"A lot of these kids don't have voices, and if it takes a parent like myself to voice for them, then I'm giving them a voice to make something happen,” Jaymes continued.
Some may say the easy solution here would be to build a fence, but Jaymes says he couldn't get a permit to fence in his yard.
There are some communities in other states, like New York and Wisconsin, where parents have convinced their council members to vote in favor of creating autism signs, but those were approved on a citywide basis, not statewide.
LINK: Read the petition