IRONDEQUOIT, N.Y. — A family in Irondequoit is now the first to have street signs outside their home that alert others that their sons have autism and to be careful while driving.
What You Need To Know
- Tami Keiser was able to get the first two "Children with Autism" Signs to be put up to alert drivers of her two sons with autism
- Signage is a part of Irondequoit's initiative to be an autism-friendly community
- Four more signs are already in the works of going up in the town too
Logan Keiser, 10, and his eight-year-old brother Brayden are both on the autism spectrum. They love to play outside with their three other siblings.
"Because we have to all play safely in the roads,” said Logan. “Maybe we can ride bikes, we can maybe do chalk together. Anything we can do for fun."
Their mom Tami said they are playing outside more than ever because of COVID-19.
"During quarantine, obviously we're not playing with others, we're in our home and we're doing things outside,” said Tami. “We keep them in the backyard playing, but we did start getting out and they started riding their bikes."
Tami said she has talked to all her neighbors to let them know her sons have autism, but people from outside driving through may not be aware.
"One of the things that happen with our sons is, they flee, which means they run,” said Tami. “So if they get emotional or upset, they don't really think about it, and their immediate reaction is to escape from where they are. And they'll run. And we don't have a stop sign at the end of our street, so it worries us when we're at home or they're coming off the bus to their babysitter that they might have had a bad day and then they sprint out."
So Tami contacted the Irondequoit Police Department to ask if there is anything they can do to warn people to be extra alert. She said it only took a couple of weeks for the town to decide to put up "Child with Autism" signage near their home on the corner of Suellen Dr. and Edside Dr., and facing the other way along Edside Dr.
"Sometimes you just feel like you're fighting a battle by yourself, so calling and getting something done so quickly was a relief to my husband and I,” said Tami.
Bob Kiley, the commissioner of public works for the town of Irondequoit, spearheaded making sure the signs were put up. He said his son also has special needs, so he understands personally what it means to get something like this done.
"I've got a special needs son myself,” said Kiley. “Mr. Levi's fantastic, I love him dearly. And you know when we have, I have, an opportunity to mix both my personal and then professional, it gives even more of that good cause feel."
Last year, the Irondequoit town board declared the town an autism-friendly community. Kiley said this step is simply the town following through on that promise.
In order to get a sign like this up, the criteria that needs to be met is, the child with autism is under the age of 18, the average daily traffic volume is less than 2,000 cars, the speed limit is 35 miles per hour or less, and the street has to be residential.
The Keiser family is the first to have these signs on their street, and because of Tami’s initiative, four more signs are already in the works for other families like theirs.