Putnam Lake Family Leads Charge to Put Autism Symbol on NYS Licenses
A family from the Hudson Valley is leading the charge to put an autism symbol on New York State Driver's licenses and ID cards.
Pete and Denise Gagliardo of Putnam Lake got the idea while watching "The Good Doctor" on ABC. Their son, Ryan, is autistic. So he sent a letter about his idea to local leaders and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
"This made me think since my son just passed his driver's test how he may react if he was to get pull over. I would hope he would be fine and do what the officer would ask of him such as give his license and registration. As family members of children with autism this is not the case for all. I am sure some people may act different or get nervous and be afraid and the same would go to the Law Enforcement Officer or Emergency Personnel up to a car seeing someone nervous or jumping around their vehicle," Peter wrote in his letter.
In his letter, which he also sent to Hudson Valley Post, Peter proposed adding the autism awareness symbol on the New York State license for people who are labeled autistic.
"This would help the police, fire and EMS professionals out in the field be aware of the person they are dealing with is autistic," he wrote.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo responded to Peter and said he would look into the proposal. Yonkers State Assemblyman Nader Sayegh read the proposal and drafted a bill that would all the New York State NYS Department of Transportation and the DMV place a mark on drivers in New York with autism.
"I jumped on it because I like being pro-active and when something makes sense, why delay," Sayegh told ABC.
The bill still needs approval from the New York State Assembly, but the Westchester Democrat believes it will receiver universal support and could be on Cuomo's desk in June.