MTA invites children with autism to record safety messages for subway riders

Kemberly Richardson Image
Monday, April 10, 2023
Kids on autism spectrum get chance to become subway announcers
In honor of Autism Awareness Month, the MTA is embracing children with autism by inviting some of them to record their own subway safety announcements.

LOWER MANHATTAN, New York (WABC) -- The MTA is celebrating Autism Awareness Month by bringing in children with autism to experience the subway through a different lens.

The kids got the chance to meet and mingle with station agents, bus operators and conductors as part of the experience.

"They have such an affinity to the subway station. So we wanted to create space to celebrate and embrace it and give them an opportunity to meet those running the system day to day," said Shanifah Rieara of the MTA.

Morgan Calles, 6, one of the children in the group, leaves his home in City Island to take the subway to school every day and loves trains.

It's a routine he not only looks forward to, but his mother says is key to his overall well being. Morgan has autism, and like others on the spectrum, is often drawn to trains.

"It's calming for him. He likes the order and things running on time and structure," said Morgan's mother Brenna Calles.

The kids were invited to pre-record a message for riders and was played back to them for the first time over the subway speakers.

Their announcements will play for tens of thousands of commuters all over New York.

As for Morgan, if you get lost in the subway, he'll be sure to point you in the right direction. He hopes to one day drive a train.

The MTA hopes this event during Autism Awareness Month creates a sense of inclusion.


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