A new initiative has formed in Austin and we’d like you to be a part of it. The Autism Friendly Austin (AFA) Project began as a way to encourage current Autism Service providers, retailers and businesses to work together to better serve the Autism community. There are currently over 100 students in the Austin Public Schools diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. That does not include the number of adults living amongst us who are also on the Spectrum. We can be a better community by understanding the needs of these people who are your customers, your employees, and your neighbors.
Our vision is to make our community and the surrounding area Autism Friendly, Sensory Sensitive and Family Welcoming.
Our Mission is to promote understanding of and provide supports for inclusion and acceptance for Autism and Special Needs through engaging, training and educating our entire community.
Austin has great resources in place for those on the Autism Spectrum, and we want you to know about them and to be considered one of them. Our team can help your business or service become an Autism Friendly Location. With minimal time and money invested your business can grow and become a preferred provider to those actively seeking shopping opportunities and services. Our team will provide you with the resources and tools you and your business need to be attract customers and potential employees.
As of January 1, 2019, the following Austin, MN businesses have completed the process of becoming Autism Friendly. They have been given a tool kit of resources to be better able to serve and work with youth and adults on the autism spectrum.
Austin Artworks Center/Paramount Theatre
Austin Public Library
Catherwood Childcare Center
Drs. Elrod, Green and Heimer, D.D.S. Austin/Adams
Family Eye Care Center
Guy Family Dentistry
Hormel Historic Home
InnoVision EyeCare Austin/Albert Lea
LIFE Mower County
Matchbox Children's Theater
Mayo Clinic Health System
Midtown Auto Clinic
Parenting Resource Center
Potach and Mitchell Dentistry
Southeastern Minnesota Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery
Many communities around the country and around the world are working hard to become Autism Friendly. Help us to make Austin one of them. Check out the cities below.
Mason City, IA: https://sites.google.com/a/ourlovingchildren.org/olchome/
Battlefield, MO: http://www.ky3.com/content/news/Battlefield-is-Missouris-first-Autism-Friendly-city-376458311.html
Phoenix, AZ: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/phoenix-became-autism-friendly-city-world/
Liverpool, England: http://www.autismfriendlyliverpool.com/
There are many sites that can help you learn more about Autism and how to interact with those on the spectrum. Check back here often to look for more resources.
Autism Society www.autism-society.org/
Autism Society of Minnesota www.ausm.org
Autism Speaks www.autismspeaks.com
We will be contacting partners who we think will embrace these ideas, but if you would like to find out more, we'd love to hear from you. Please contact the Hormel Historic Home for more information. 507-433-4243 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Autism Friendly Austin Team: Holly Johnson, Mary Barinka, Jenelle Cummings, Gema Alvardo, Beth Tobak, Lynsey O’Donnell, Kate Jordal, Jenni Harves, Erin Dilley-Jones, Dawn Helgeson, Jill Hart, Sheri Willrodt
Autism Friendly Austin Tools:
Speaker Mike Dierdorff presentation materials:
Setting Yourself Apart as an Autism Friendly Location
ASD and the Senses
A Haircut Experience by Jackson Schara