Apple Valley family denied traffic sign in yard for autistic child

An Apple Valley family is in a fight with the city because they want a street sign warning drivers that their 6-year-old autistic child is in the neighborhood.  But it may require changes to state traffic guidelines for that to happen.

Some cities in Minnesota have these signs, while others don't.  But there's simply nothing on the books requiring these signs to be in neighborhoods. So for now, these requests are being considered independently by each city, leaving some parents frustrated.

The Kausel’s residential street, Everest Avenue, can get busy with several schools and ball fields nearby.

“He may run out in the road, or do something a typical kid normally wouldn't do,” mom Kelly Kausel said.

That’s why they’re asking for a prominent sign for drivers to be aware of their autistic child, and to slow down.

“People will cut through our street,” Kausel said.  “I would like to see the sign somewhere right here, where people go around the corner.”

But the Apple Valley traffic safety advisory committee won’t let them have a sign because they don’t believe the signs are effective.

“The sign doesn’t really have the effect that it does over time and that's what the studies have shown,” Capt. Nick Francis, Apple Valley Police, said.

MnDOT says each one of these requests will have to be considered independently by each city.  Kausel knows other parents with autistic kids in cities like Edina that still grant these special sign requests.  So she’s hoping her community eventually comes around.

The family will be taking the issue to state lawmakers and MnDOT to try and modify the rules.