Autism Awareness Initiative - KTUL.com - Tulsa, Oklahoma - News, Weather & Sports

Autism Awareness Initiative

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Joe Momma's, Wednesday night. The oven's fired up, and so are the appetites.

"I like cheese pizza," said 16 year-old Josh, "and double bacon."

Enjoying an evening out with the family.

"He loves getting out, he's very, very social, but also inappropriate at times, so that's where it's hard getting out," said his mom, Jennifer Sollars Miller.

Hard because not everyone may recognize that Josh is autistic. A condition many families struggle with when simply trying to blend in.

"It's hard going into a place. Our families are very isolated. They spend so much money on therapy and treatment, and then you go out in public and you get the stares, the comments from others and it's really difficult," she said.

Until, hopefully, now, with the launch of a new initiative to help educate establishments. "Autism Friendly Locations - We're A-OK" A booklet gives an overview of characteristics, with tips for encounters.

"Once they realize someone has a disorder or disability, they're going to give them extra time, they're going to help them if they need it, and we want that kind of understanding when we go out," she said.

Places that enact the program are given a sticker that identifies them as autistic friendly. On board so far? Joe Momma's, White Flag, ONEOK Field, and the Tulsa County library. And soon, the web site will have a whole list.

"And it'll pop up, boom, boom, boom, these are locations in your area," she said.

Recognizing a difference, to help unite instead of divide.

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