WINFIELD, W.Va. (WOWK) – Most states have an assortment of license plates of which driver’s can choose, but there is one license plate West Virginia doesn’t have that’s getting some attention.
Putnam County resident Brandy Haid is a mother of two children with autism.
“My car is pretty much covered in autism everything on the back already so we might as well go ahead and put a plate on it,” Haid said.
Haid says she and her husband have learned how isolating it can sometimes feel and that why they’re backing a campaign to raise autism awareness in the Mountain State.
“They can have this autism community that helps support them along the way, too,” Haid says. “So, when you see people with that license plate, or you see stickers on the back of their car you’re like, ‘Hey you’re one of us.'”
The campaign was started by Ripley residents Dr. Bradley George and his wife, Margaret. They, too, have a child with autism and want to help others connect.
Jill Scarbro-McLaury has worked in the autism field for more than two decades and is the director of Community Autism Resources and Education Systems, or C.A.R.E.S. She says she’s seen first-hand how important it is for a community to come together for something as simple as a license plate.
“A lot of times it can be a conversation starter,” McLaury said. “I think it’s important. It’s a little thing, but it goes a long way. Like Brandy was saying, it really helps you identify your tribe.”
And when you know your tribe, getting through the ups and downs of life is easier. McLaury says she hopes West Virginia joins Ohio and Kentucky in this small way to drive awareness forward.
“I think it’s a good idea and I’ve been a little jealous of the other states that have them and we haven’t had them as an option,” McLaury said.
The DMV needs 250 paid applications for the plates before they will produce and distribute them. You can find that application here.