Driving the kids to school? A yellow dot could make them safer

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    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Forget putting a yellow ribbon around the old Oak tree – the University of Louisville’s Kentucky Autism Training Center wants families to put a yellow dot on their car window.

    The Yellow Dot Program alerts first responders that an automobile accident victim may be on the autism spectrum and require special medical attention.

    “This is an important time of year for families to think about placing the sticker on their vehicle,” said Heidi Cooley-Cook, family field training coordinator for KATC, a part of the College of Education and Human Development. “With school starting again, parents and other caregivers are driving more. It’s such a simple thing and it can truly save a life.”

    Families can pick up a free Yellow Dot packet from the Autism Center at 1405 E. Burnett Ave. or by contacting Cooley-Cook at Heidi.cooleycook@louisville.edu.

    The decal should be placed in the lower-left corner on the driver-side rear window so first responders know that detailed medical information about the vehicle’s occupants is in the glove compartment. Cooley-Cook said information packets can be completed for multiple persons and may include information such as how a child communicates in stressful situations, favorite things, contact phone numbers and more.

    The Yellow Dot Program was first launched in 2015 by the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety. However, due to cuts in funding, the office and related agencies haven’t been able to promote the program.

    “We’re in a unique position to let families know about the program,” said Larry Taylor, executive director of KATC. “Through our training opportunities we reach thousands of Kentucky families and caregivers every year and they often look to us to tell them about other services that support individuals with autism.”

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    Cindy Hess
    Cindy Hess has more than 30 years of experience in communications, marketing and investor relations, including more than a decade at UofL. She is "sort of" retired but happy to come back to the Office of Communications and Marketing to help with special projects and assignments.