Autism Friendly Communities is a program that provides local businesses and organizations with high-quality, comprehensive training about Autism.
ASCV staff collaborates with business partners to evaluate, adapt, and expand aspects of their business to make it more accessible to our local Autism community. We work with leadership teams to develop a customized plan to best support and include Autistic individuals and their families in their place of business. Partners receive expertise, training, and resources from local professionals, individuals with Autism, and family members, tailored specifically to their type of business.
Autism Friendly Communities:
Learn – from Autistic individuals and their family members
Embrace – Autistic individuals in your place of business
Accommodate – the needs of diverse community members
Reflect – on how to enhance venues and practices to create positive experiences
Nurture – relationships and foster unique abilities of Autistic community members
Why is this program needed?
Autistic individuals and their families regularly experience misunderstanding when they interact with the general public. This often leads to alienation in public spaces and isolation from many areas of the community. The Autism Friendly Communities program addresses these issues by providing local businesses with the training and resources that they need to create safe, welcoming environments for Autistic community members.
“This program has the potential to be life-changing for a lot of people in a lot of really positive ways…access to employment, access to certain spaces as an option. It’s really refreshing to think that our voices are being heard and sought out and valued.”
“I have thought about how to get my son into places so he can learn from everyone else’s world. This program is the reverse where people get to learn about him.”
-Caregiver of an Autistic child
Autism Friendly Communities Designation Process
Our program is divided into two phases, giving partners flexibility to determine the best way for their team to participate, based on timeline, capacity, staffing, budget, etc.
- Initial meeting with leadership team
- Autism 101 training for employee team
- Organizational audit and facilities review
- Follow up meeting with leadership team to share feedback and recommendations for enhancements
- Recorded version of Autism 101 training for employees and our online toolkit of additional resources and materials
- Resource development (i.e. social story, sensory map, webpages, etc.)
- Individualized presentations for employees with customized resources and strategies
- Support in implementing accommodations and resources
- Access to additional online/on-demand training and resources for employees for continued professional development
Partners who complete both phases will receive
- An official report verifying the completion of all steps to become a Designated AFC & ensuring sustainability of initiatives
- Official “Autism Friendly Communities Designation,” with electronic & physical badges to display
- Endorsement by the ASCV as an Autism Friendly Community; to include social media recognition, listing with contact information and live link on the ASCV website, and a press release announcing endorsement
- Ongoing technical assistance, with quarterly check-ins
- Opportunity to offer a service or a discount to ASCV members and receive a listing on ASCV website
Autism Friendly Communities partners represent a broad range of business sectors, including healthcare, recreation, education, retail, personal care, and others.
“ASCV delivers one of the best training & development opportunities we have participated in…we have been able to develop actionable steps for growing our Garden into an even more inclusive resource for the community.”
-Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
“This is a great training program. As someone who has multiple family members with autism, this training helped me understand certain things that may be ‘scary’ for them when coming to the doctors office. This training helped learn ways to create a welcoming environment for our patients.”
How do you get started?
Please email the Community Engagement Manager at [email protected] to learn more about how the AFC program can benefit your business.
What does the program cost?
Our fees are based upon the size and scope of each organization and the extent of individualized resources and accommodations.