Nassau sheriff raises autism awareness with decal program

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The saying goes “a picture is worth 1,000 words.” In Carli Sperry’s case, a sticker is worth so much more because she can’t speak many words.

Carli is in sixth grade, loves cheerleading, and being outdoors. She’s like most 11-year-old girls. But one difference you wouldn’t notice is she has non-verbal autism.

It’s why the sticker that’s now on Carli’s mom’s car is so important and brings Shelley peace of mind.

“Yes she looks healthy, but she doesn’t quite understand social cues and personal space,” Shelley Sperry said. “The more understanding they have — the better it will be for everybody.”

The sticker is handed out by the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office for free. It’s meant for the back of the car and by the front door of the house to alert deputies someone with autism is inside.

“We want to make sure our deputies are prepared and made aware to make sure they’re comfortable and feel safe,” Sheriff Bill Leeper said.

When parents pick up the decal, they also fill out a form with their address so that dispatchers have that information when deputies arrive at a house to call for help.

The sheriff’s office also offers scent kits for free which help bloodhounds search for a missing person with autism.

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