MOBILE, Alabama — The Autism Society of Alabama needs at least 1,000 people across the state to sign up for a special license plate by November to be able to print the tags that promote awareness of the disorder typically discovered in childhood.
“When a family receives a diagnosis of autism in Alabama,” said society member Andrea Frogue Plante, “they are the first people to turn to. We offer resources. We help set them up with whatever they need to find success for their children.”
The special tags cost $50, with $41.50 going to the society to fund outreach programs and other services. The cost is tax-deductible and motorists can commit at any time, regardless of renewal month, Plante said.
Autism is a spectrum disorder that affects people in different ways, impairing the ability to communicate and relate to others. Autism may cause cognitive deficits and is associated with rigid routines, including repetitive and sometimes odd behaviors.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has tracked a sharp surge in the number of reported cases in recent years. The agency now estimates that autism affects one in 88 children in the United States.
Doctors don’t know what causes autism, but have been investigating genetic and environmental triggers. Results from the environmental research are still likely years away, scientists have said.
Here’s how to secure an autism awareness tag:
Complete a “commitment to purchase form” where you typically get tags renewed. You must know the make, model, year and VIN number for each car you want to buy a tag for.
After paying with cash or check, you will receive a form and receipt. When 1,000 commitments have been completed, the state will begin producing the tags.
Once notified, bring in the original form and receipt to get the tag.