Boardman street sign alerts drivers about autism - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Boardman street sign alerts drivers about autism

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BOARDMAN TWP., Ohio -

If you drive through Applewood Boulevard, located in a residential neighborhood not far from 224 in Boardman, you'll come across a yellow street sign that says Autism Area.

After seeing a lot of speeding cars and accidents along this street, Brandy Lolakis thought she needed the sign in front of her home. 
She needed it out of concern for her 10-year-old son, Romello.

"Children with autism often have impulsive behavior, so he may not think to go and look for the traffic before he may retrieve something in the middle of the road," said Lolakis.

She found out such a sign was possible after talking with Homes for Kids, a counseling service that comes to her home to help Romello. They told her to just ask Boardman for it.

Lolakis says the township was very accommodating. She says after just one call they had the sign up just three days later.

Brandy thinks the 35 mph speed limit here might be a tad high, so she hopes the sign helps alert drivers to watch out.

"Slow down. Look for children in the area that may be playing close to the curb and if they see something in the street, control your speed so you're able to stop at an appropriate time so you can stop a child from getting hurt or even killed," Lolakis said.

The Rich Center for Autism says these signs could do more than just help people slow down, they might actually start a dialogue in the neighborhood.

"That awareness could be, maybe I'll go meet mom and dad or get to know that family a little bit more and talk to them about the particulars within their family about having a child with autism," said Greg Boerio from the Rich Center.

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