Local mom spreads awareness for autism this Halloween with blue buckets

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Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019
News 12 at 6 O'Clock

Blue buckets signal that a child is on the autism spectrum (Source: WRDW/WAGT)

JEFFERSON COUNTY, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- You may have heard about the national movement to help kids who are on the autism spectrum better enjoy Halloween by carrying a blue bucket while trick-or-treating.

Now, a Jefferson County mom is making it her mission.

"I started trying to just spread awareness as soon as we found out that he was autistic," said Brittany Kurtz.

Kurtz is a mom of three, including five-year-old Ryan, who is on the spectrum.

Kids carry the blue buckets to let people know that they have autism, and maybe non-verbal.

It's a movement Kurtz is determined to bring to her hometown of Bartow because she's seen first hand how challenging the holiday can be for her son.

"They don't like the loud noises, the bright lights," Kurtz said. "People chasing the children with chain saws, I had that incident with my son last year."

Kurtz said despite that incident, Ryan loves everything about Halloween, from dressing up with his siblings to all of the free candy.

She said she wants to do all she can to make sure the holiday stays enjoyable for Ryan and others like him.

"That's my biggest thing, is just protecting him because he doesn't know how to protect himself," said Kurtz.

Kurtz said if you see someone with a blue bucket while trick-or-treating, just be kind and patient with them, and try not to be too loud or abrupt.

"They get frightened very, very easily," Kurtz said. "Their senses are 10 times higher than ours are."

And while this year she just tackled her county, Kurtz said she's hoping the mission will spread far beyond Jefferson.

"I want to broaden everything, make it go statewide if possible," Kurtz said.

Making sure that the only thing that's different for Ryan this Halloween is the color of his bucket.

Blue buckets can be found around Jefferson County at different businesses and schools.

In addition to the blue buckets, Kurtz has also started a support group on Facebook called 'Jefferson County Autism Support Group.'

Kurtz said anyone is welcome to join.

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