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(UK) Blue pumpkins: Accepting autism; 'we're in 2023 now'

OCT 30, 2023, BBC NEWS: Autism blue bucket helps Noa trick or treat

At a glance

A mother is highlighting how blue buckets can help those with autism go trick or treating

The buckets are already used in the US to signal a child has autism and may not be able to speak.

Sophie Underwood-Jones will be taking her son Noa out with a blue bucket this Halloween to improve his experience on the doorstep.

A mother of an autistic child says her son will be carrying a special blue bucket this year when he goes out to trick or treat this Halloween.

Noa, six, does not speak due to his condition, and it has led to some households accusing him of being rude when they hand over sweets.

Blue buckets are used in the United States to signal a child has autism, and Noa's mother hopes it can be adopted in the UK.

"It's just a small little thing for us as a family that you don't have to explain about your children - about their disability," said Sophie Underwood-Jones.

Noa has been trick or treating since he was a toddler, but mother Sophie says it has not always been a positive experience.

She first spotted the blue buckets while scrolling through social media, and saw an advert for them in US supermarkets.

"It's a great idea, you've got so many children locally that would benefit from these," she said.

Sophie, of Pwllheli, Gwynedd, managed to find blue pumpkin-shaped buckets in an online store in the UK and hopes it will help Noa have a better experience.

"I'm very fortunate with Noa, he does love parties, different activities going on through the year - when we decorate the house, he notices the difference," she said.

She said she had been taking Noa trick or treating since he was a baby, but said sometimes the experience "wasn't the best".

"I have had little comments being made towards Noa that he didn't thank the people for the sweets, or he never said 'trick or treat'.

"It's very hard for me to accept it as a mother. I don't like going places and having to explain that I've got an autistic child that is non-verbal.

"We're in 2023 now and I feel children like Noa - and adults - should be accepted. They shouldn't have to explain who they are or if they do have a disability."

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