Street sign in Meridian raises awareness about autism

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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WJTV) – The mother of an autistic child praised the quick response to her request for a street sign in her Meridian neighborhood. 12 News’ Thao Ta brought together the mother, Ashlee Porter, and the road department for the first time on Wednesday.

After one call to the city’s public works department and the help of the Lauderdale County Road Department to see if the sign was an option, Porter said no time was wasted in placing the special order for her son, Liam.

Porter said there have been a few incidents of her son being close to the road, and she knew she needed to raise awareness. She took it upon herself to contact the city, who put her in touch with Ryan Mosley. He’s the road and bridge coordinator for Lauderdale County.

“It was immediate. Ryan asked me right when I called him. He was like, “Okay, send me what you want, and we’ll get it,'” said Porter.

Within a span of two weeks, a yellow sign was placed on Harper Road that reads, “Caution, Autistic Child in Area.” It cautions drivers about kids at play. Porter said she’s seen a difference on the road.

“It’s been very beneficial already. We’ve noticed people slowing down.”

Porter and Mosley met for the first time on Wednesday via a Zoom call.

“I really appreciate the work you do and how time efficient you are. It meant a lot to me getting that sign, and I was afraid I was gonna get a ‘no’ or rejection. So it just means a lot that you care about your community so much,” Porter told Mosley.

Mosley replied, “We thank you. I commend the road department, because I think we all do a good job, and we try to do it as fast as we can, especially in situations, like here with Ashlee.”

Since the sign was installed, Mosley said it’s brought an increase in autism awareness.

“With all this getting out there, I can see our need growing even more. So I can see our sign department order more signs in the near future, which is a good thing. We have no problem with that at all.”

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