A Sign Warning Drivers To Be Aware Of An Autistic Child Playing Outside Has been Vandalized

While driving around residential areas, it’s possible you’ve encountered that very popular sign “slow down, children at play” or any variation of that phrase. A mom from Michigan had her own signs made for each end of the block where she resides that read “Autistic Child In Area.” But her sign warning drivers to be aware of the autistic child in the area has been vandalized.

The signs gave the family peace of mind whenever their little one is outside playing but putting up that sign unknowingly touched upon a debate many have had about what the appropriate way to refer to a person with autism, is. Some prefer saying a person has autism as it is something they have and not who they are, while others believe the contrary and consider being autistic as part of their identity.

Pretty much, there is really no right or wrong in this discussion it just depends on how you prefer you or your loved one to be identified. In an article written by a young autistic man for the Mighty, he mentions how this debate follows him throughout his everyday life with people often asking him whether he prefers being referred to as someone with autism or someone who is autistic.


The young man’s name is Alex Lowery and in his piece for the Mighty he also shares:

“Would it be offensive to call a fireman a 'fireman'? Would it be better to say, 'he’s a man who fights fire'? Would it be offensive to say, 'Jack is a cool guy'? Would it be better to say, 'Jack is a guy who’s cool'? They both mean the same thing, don’t they? So why is it considered offensive to say someone is autistic? And why is it better to say that they 'have' autism? To me, that kind of implies that autism is an illness that needs to be cured — which it isn’t. It’s not simply something someone has that needs to be fixed. Autism is a part of what makes a person who they are. I’m not saying autism defines a person entirely, but it is part of who a person is."

Lowery makes a valid point and though there are many contradicting opinions about how to refer to someone on the spectrum, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s no one place to touch, deface, or vandalize another person’s property — even if you don’t agree with their views.

On the vandalized street sign, you can see as the original message “Autistic Child In Area” was covered with a lot of tape and a new phrase which reads, “child with autism in area.” Another issue with the modified new sign is that when the light shines on the normally reflective sign, it no longer lights up. See a photo of the before and after, below.

Photo courtesy of Yahoo

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