Transcript for Backlash over proposed autism label
ANDREA FUJII: This morning, controversy over special decals for drivers with autism, meant to help keep them safe. A bill proposed in Rhode Island would allow drivers on the autism spectrum to add the word autism to their license or their vehicle's license plate. The decals would be optional. The goal is to ensure a driver with autism is not deemed a threat if they're stopped by police. A nonverbal teen with autism testified in support of the bill.
INTERPRETER: The goal is to avoid misunderstandings between the officer and the driver.
ANDREA FUJII: But some people with autism oppose the idea. One critic saying, "It is literally labeling us and putting us into a box, rather than uplifting and supporting us." Others support the bill's intention but say it goes too far.
- If there's a subtle way to say there's somebody who has a different communication style, there's somebody who has specific medical needs, there's somebody who is medically fragile in the car, that is important information for them to have. But how do we do it discreetly so it's not screaming out to the whole world?
ANDREA FUJII: New figures out this week show the number of children with autism is rising. The CDC recently studied eight-year-olds across the country, and found 1 in 36 of those children or nearly 3%, was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Experts say, the increase doesn't necessarily mean autism itself is a bigger problem. They say, the increase is likely due to more children getting screened.
As for the proposal in Rhode Island, if approved, the state would join Texas and Louisiana, which already have special license indicators for drivers with autism.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.