MTA marks Autism Awareness Month with announcements from students

UPPER EAST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) — In celebration of Autism Awareness Month, a few lucky kids on the autism spectrum got the chance of a lifetime to make announcements for the New York City subway system.

“Hello passengers, my name is Morgan. I’m 5 years old. I would like to let you know this is Autism Awareness Month. Please remember, stand clear of the closing doors,” Morgan Calles said.

“Attention passengers. This is Ian and I love to ride the MTA trains,” 12-year-old Ian Gutterman said.

The young students are the MTA’s biggest fans. They have memorized routes and stops. Gutterman even tracks how many passengers are on the bus at any time

They all have autism. Jonathan Trichter with the Foundry Learning Center for Autistic Children asked the MTA if some of the students could tape subway announcements for Autism Awareness Month.

“It’s not unusual that a child with autism in New York City will utter his first sentence and have it be, stand clear of the closing doors please,” Trichter said.

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Bill Ritter talks to Dr. Jay Varma about the Florida judge who overturned the CDC’s federal mask mandate for public transit. “This is a real challenge,” Varma said.

The MTA agreed and on Monday played some of the recordings every 15 minutes.

“It was awesome to be able to be a voice for the MTA,” 16-year-old Andrew Uzzo said.

Uzzo hopes to work for the MTA and has applied for a summer internship.

“I’d say I know the New York City transit system pretty well,” he said.

Rocco Pramas, 10, wears his safety gear every day. He wants to do track work on the 7 line.

“I am autistic and I love MTA trains,” Pramas said.

“I imitate the announcements. I literally imitate it, 14-year-old Ian Aquino said. “I want to be a train announcer when I grow up.”

Their MTA debut performance lasted only a day but for the young announcers, their passion for trains and busses will likely last a lifetime.

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